GoogleIt Mail IT Print IT PermaLinkEd Wants To Know Who Needs 64 Bit Domino On Intel/AMD
06:21:07 PM
Written By : Richard SchwartzCategory : IBM Lotus Notes And Domino
Location : Nashua, NH

In a response over on Henning Heinz's blog, Ed brill wrote:


64 bit? While we have a lot of "tire kicker" interest in this, who really needs it in production, today?


This isn't the first time the question has come up. See here for instance. Also, see my comments about E12, which will have 64 bit support even though the case for needing it in a mail server is clearly much weaker than the case that can be made for needing it in a collaborative applications server like Domino. The same question has come up at least three times this year in the Lotus Partner Forum.


My answer to Ed is in the form of a question: Who needed the dramatically reduced CPU utilization in ND7? Answer that question, and you'll know exactly who believes they will benefit from 64 bit support.


With all due respect to Ed, I think that the Notes and Domino community deserves a real answer on this rather than "we're waiting for real customer interest", which is a paraphrase of the answer received in one of the prior discussions. IBM wouldn't have put in the work to accomplish the CPU improvements in ND7 if there wasn't a significant group of customers who wanted to overcome limits in single server performance. I contend that the group that is interested in 64 bit support is surely just as significant. And, if nothing else, the fact that E12 will have 64 bit support indicates that the competition is going to make 64 bit support an important marketing bullet if IBM doesn't have it, and I think it would be better if IBM didn't have to be on the defensive when that happens.


I could launch into a detailed technical discussion about how 64 bit support would theoretically improve Domino server performance and scalability. I could also speculate about how it might not actually do so, and how hard it might be for IBM to implement it on top of code with a 20 year history -- though I believe that they have successfully done this for Domino on x86 platforms so I would hope that a lot of the groundwork has already been done. But IBM is in a far better position than I am to talk about this intelligently, and I hope they will do so.


I am sure that this question will come up at Lotusphere. If the initial answer isn't better than "who really needs it?", it will come up again and again, and it will probably be asked empatically at the Ask The Developers session -- and it will get a big round of applause.

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Comments :v

1. Damien Katz09/18/2005 11:27:33 PM
Homepage: http://damienkatz.net


Domino will not benefit from much at all from 64bit addressing, as it has other internal limits that it hits before 32 bit addressing becomes a problem. You'll probably see a 64 bit Domino soon though, a port just isn't that hard to do. But don't expect any performance boost from it.




2. Ed Brill09/19/2005 02:41:10 AM
Homepage: http://www.edbrill.com


Gentle reminder that whatever I write gets amplified, regardless of where I write it...

but from where I sit, I reiterate that this really isn't a question I get all that often. The iSeries implementation of Domino is already 64-bit, so it's not a new theshold to cross. But doing so on Wintel is essentially opening support for a new platform -- so not a decision to be taken lightly (while Damien correctly points out that the port isn't that complicated, the support for it is).

MS Exchange's plans in this area are not a reason for IBM to do so. They ported Exchange to Windows NT/PowerPC a few years ago -- we didn't. It cost us one customer. In the end, MS dropped that port.

I am not sure I agree that this is a big round of applause kind of thing. We may just have different perspectives on the market demand.




3. Josef09/19/2005 05:40:44 AM


Just to let you know - we are currently buying SUSE SLES 9. And we will get 64-bit version basically for free with it. If we find out our server is too weak (which it really is, I suspect) I would be happy to buy a Xeon-based server and install a 64-bit version of SUSE ontop of it. I know (or at least hope) that Domino will run in 32-bit mode but it would be great to have a full 64-bit version.
And Ed - I do not think that 64-bit x86 will be a dead-end like NT/PowerPC was. I expect that all the marketing hype is going to happen around 64-bit server hardware.




4. Ed Brill09/19/2005 09:58:16 AM
Homepage: http://www.edbrill.com


my point about NT/PowerPC wasn't about whether 64-bit will be a success. It was about whether IBM should do something because MS is doing something.




5. Richard Schwartz09/19/2005 04:23:37 PM
Homepage: http://www.rhs.com/poweroftheschwartz


@Damien: I know that it is true that there are other limits that come into play, but at least a few of them exist because of memory management issues. 64 bit support is not an end-oint. I take it for granted that having 64 bit support on x86 is a necessary step along the way to overcoming those limits. I'd like to see it happen sooner rather than later.

@Ed: Point taken about the amplification. Point also taken about the burden of supporting another platform. If I've given the impression that I think IBM should do this solely because Microsoft is, let me restate:

- I believe that 64 bit x86 is perceived as a strong industry trend.

- I believe that most technical professionals have a presumption that a 64 bit address space is likely to lead to performance and scalability improvements in server applications like Domino.

- Microsoft's 64 bit support for E12 is just another datapiont that tends to confirm the perceptions and presumptions above.

NT/PowerPC was never a major industry trend. Neither was NT/Alpha, but IBM did port there. It's a bit odd that IBM ported to NT on DEC's processor but not on their own, but at the time the Alpha was head-and-shoulders above all other processors in terms of technology, and it was considered by a lot of people to be a very serious challenger for high-end servers. It didn't work out that way, but IBM's port of Domino to NT/Alpha was no doubt based on the presumption that there would be a strong enough market to justify it.


With respect to the perception of 64 bit x86 processors as a strong industry trend, I'll go farther. It's not just perception. It's already a stronger trend than NT/PowerPC and NT/Alpha ever were -- combined. It is a major trend in that it raised AMD's market share higher than it has ever been in the server space, and AMD's success forced Intel to signifcantly alter their own 64 bit strategy. Plus, looks who's selling 64 bit x86 servers: IBM and Sun sell 64 bit Opterons, Dell sells Intel's new 64 bit Xeons, and HP sells 64 bit Itaniums. In other words, all four of the biggest server vendors overall are selling 64 bit x86 boxes. (As opposed to how many vendors who sold NT/PowerPC or NT/Alpha servers?) Looking at it another way, Wintel-based servers comprise the majority of Domino servers, and all three of the leading vendors of Wintel servers are selling 64 bit boxes. And Sun's new Galaxy servers based on Opteron 64 are probably their biggest strategic move in hardware in the past several years.

Perhaps I'm wrong in thinking that the question of 64 bit support will be a big applause-getter at 'sphere. Perhaps not. I tend to think it will, because I think that other folks read the industry trend tea leaves the same way I do.

-rich




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