Is my server Exchange 2007 ready?
As you already know, Microsoft has decided that the latest version of Exchange – Exchange Server 2007 – will only be supported on 64-bit servers. Although this decision has stirred quite a few opinions in the past, Microsoft has claimed that since virtually all new server hardware that one might buy nowadays is 64-bit technology anyway, the decision to only allow 64-bit installations of Exchange 2007 is a logical decision and it will allow for better hardware sizing and scalability for large servers.
Note: You can download a 120-day evaluation of Exchange 2007 directly from Microsoft’s site, and for these evaluation purposes you CAN still use 32-bit hardware (along with the default and supported 64-bit hardware). Read more about it on the Download Exchange 2007 Evaluation page.
The Exchange 2007 documentation clearly says that in order to run it you need: x64 architecture-based computer with Intel processor that supports Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology (Intel EM64T) or AMD processor that supports the AMD64 platform; Intel Itanium family IA64 processors are not supported.
Anyway, coming to install Exchange 2007 on a test machine I faced an interesting question: Does this machine have a 32-bit or 64-bit CPU? Can I install Exchange 2007 on it?
Well, it depends…
If the computer has an AMD-based CPU then both the Opteron and Athlon 64 series can easily tell the Windows OS what they are, thus a quick glance at the My Computer properties (or the System applet from the Control Panel) can easily tell you what brand your CPU is. Both are compatible with Exchange Server 2007.
If the computer has an Intel-based CPU then it depends on whether it is an Itanium 64-bit CPU, in which case it is not compatible with Exchange 2007;
If it is a Xeon or Pentium CPU series. In that case, if the CPU is 64-bit then it supports Exchange 2007, and if it is 32-bit, it doesn’t. The problem is that instead of clearly labeling the specific processor models as being 64-bit, Intel merely added the Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T) extensions to them, which does not show in the My Computer properties window.
Another cool tool you can use is the free CPU-Z, which will tell you all sorts of information about your CPU. Most importantly it will let you easily see whether you’re running a 64-bit system:
You might also want to read the following related articles:
- Download Exchange 2007 Evaluation
- Technet Exchange 2007 Virtual Labs
- Download Exchange 2007 Virtual Machines