As many of you may be aware, the next version of Windows Server (Windows Server 2008 R2) will only be releasing in a 64bit version. Because the x64 architecture is simply an extension of x86 32-bit architecture, the code for 32-bit apps runs natively on the processor with no emulation. In other words, for most applications the transition should be fairly smooth and painless. However, despite this, Microsoft recognizes that applications will need to be tested for compatibility and possibly updated/optimized to ensure they work well with the new OS. This may be especially true if Kernel drivers are involved.
To assist companies in their efforts to test application compatibility, Microsoft provides some helpful resources and tools to help you with your application compatibility planning, testing and optimization.
Following are the resources:
· The Benefits of x64 Technology
· Windows Server x64 Case Studies
· Application Compatibility Resources for IT Professionals and Developers
· ISV Application Readiness and Certification
· IDC Paper: Understanding the Business Benefits Associated with x86 64-bit Windows Server
As an example, on the Application Compatibility Resources for IT Professionals and Developers page, I found this especially useful:
Test Custom and Third-Party Applications for Yourself
Enterprise IT professionals can use free, downloadable test tools to evaluate any custom or commercial application in a Windows Server 2008 R2 environment. Originally designed for ISVs preparing to certify applications, you can download and use these test tools to help your team:
· Determine an application’s impact on the server environment.
· Predict how applications will behave under load.
· Systematically detect security vulnerabilities.
· Assess an application’s basic compatibility with the OS.
· Troubleshoot an application’s unpredictable behavior while awaiting support.
· Guide custom application developers toward a technical bar.
· Augment in-house evaluation before a software purchase decision.
· Gain familiarity with tests performed on applications that are Certified for Windows Server 2008 R2.
Important note: If you are running 16bit applications then please be aware that 16bit applications will not be supported on Windows Server 2008 R2 (because they are not supported on the x64 platform). The following web site contains additional information the expected issues with running 16 bit applications on the 64bit Windows platform:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb756962.aspx and http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd371688(VS.85).aspx