With the release of Exchange Server 2010 Beta 1, many of you have been asking where you can access a 32-bit version of the product. While Exchange 2007 marked the first version of Exchange which is supported only in its 64-bit version, we did offer a 32-bit evaluation version of Exchange 2007 for use in lab environments and evaluation in virtual machine environments that didn't support 64-bit guest operating systems and for installation of Exchange management tools on 32-bit clients.
We are not shipping a 32-bit evaluation version of Exchange Server 2010. So where does that leave you for the following scenarios?
- Lab Environments - Utilizing a 32-bit version in the lab environments allowed you to potentially utilize older hardware for feature/functionality evaluation, but did not allow you to perform any scalability or performance testing. Going forward, in your lab environments, you will need to use hardware that is comparable to your production environment. This will allow you to validate all scenarios prior to production roll-out. In addition, you can leverage Hyper-V or other virtualization platforms found on the Windows Server Virtualization Validation Program (http://www.windowsservercatalog.com/svvp.aspx) to provide support for 64-bit guest operating systems. For rapid evaluation, we will provide pre-configured VHD images for use with Hyper-V.
- Demo machines - Exchange Server 2010 will require a 64-bit server operating system. In addition, you can employ virtualization technology that supports 64-bit guest operating systems to support demo environments.
- Forest/Domain Preparation - With Exchange Server 2010, you will need to leverage a 64-bit operating system to perform the schema extension and forest/domain preparation work. Hopefully you have 64-bit Active Directory servers deployed (or are planning to deploy them) and this won't be an issue. In the event that you do not have 64-bit Active Directory servers, you can install a 64-bit member server (physical or virtual) into the forest root domain, place it in the schema master's AD site, and apply the schema and forest preparations; for domain preparation, you can either update all domains by leveraging the /preparealldomains setup switch, or by removing/joining the 64-bit member server to each domain in the forest that you need to update.
- Management Tools - For Exchange Server 2010, you have several options for managing your messaging infrastructure, 1) you can have a 64-bit application terminal server that has the management tools installed, 2) you can manage the Exchange 2010 server directly via terminal services, 3) you can deploy 64-bit Windows Vista SP1, Windows Server 2008 SP2 / R2, and Windows 7 workstations, once released, for your administrators, 4) you can leverage the remote PowerShell capabilities that are built into Exchange Server 2010 by using either the 32-bit version or 64-bit version of PowerShell 2.0 (in other words, when leveraging remote PowerShell, the system where you launch PowerShell doesn't require the management tools to be installed as all cmdlets are executing on the server you are remoting).
- Data Import/Export - With Exchange Server 2007, administrators leveraged the 32-bit version of the management tools and Outlook 2007 to perform data imports and exports to PST. With Exchange Server 2010, administrators will have to leverage the 64-bit version of Exchange Server 2010 management tools and the 64-bit version of Outlook 2010 to perform PST import/export. This requirement is due to the fact that the 64-bit cmdlets cannot interoperate with the 32-bit version of MAPI. While Office 2010 does not ship until after Exchange Server 2010 releases, export functionality is not broken, as you can still export data to a target e-discovery mailbox. Once the data has been exported to the e-discovery mailbox, you can open that mailbox via Outlook 2003 or later and then use Outlook to export the data to PST.
Hope this helps you prepare for Exchange 2010 better. Let us know if you have any questions.