I was told by Microsoft last week that the RTM version of Exchange would only be made available in 64bit versions – even for evaluation purposes. This came as a bit of a shock as I’ve always been under the impression that there would be a 32bit version of the software available for use in test labs and demos. Well it’s good to see that MS are actually releasing a 32bit version for evaluation purposes only, and you can download it now from this link: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=444C259E-605F-4A82-96D5-A2F448C9D4FF&displaylang=en
So I guess the expected question is why there isn’t a 32bit version that’s available for production use too? Small businesses don’t need 64bit as they generally have less than 100 mailboxes. Also, why would you need to run the Edge Transport role on 64bit hardware when all it’s doing is acting as an SMTP relay? I don’t think the problem is the 64bit hardware as most recent servers support either AMD’s x64, or Intel’s EM64T platform – the problem is that you need to upgrade to 64bit Windows Server, and make sure that all software that will be running on the box is 64bit compatible. This would include backup agents, anti-virus software, management software, and anything else that needs to run on the box – don’t forget that SMBs usually don’t have dedicated Exchange boxes so there is often software running on the box too.