The Realm of the Verbal Processor

Jarvis's Ramblings

OS for SCCM Install. 32bit or 64bit?

[NOTE: I have revisited this thought process in a more recent blog post. I no longer recommend what I wrote below.] 

Over the last week, I have been emailing a few people and have been hitting various newsgroups, etc looking for info on whether it is best to install SCCM on 32bit Windows Server 2003, or to put it on x64 Windows. Let’s just say that there is room for discussion.

First, SCCM is a 32bit server application. It is not native x64. So you will not be getting a performance bump directly in SCCM by installing it on x64 Windows…matter of fact you will have the overhead of the x64 OS having to operate the 32bit program.

However…SCCM isn’t the only component that will be operating on the box that will impact performance. Depending on what your SCCM architecture looks like (along with the particular SCCM components on each site system), you will/could have IIS, SQL, WDS, etc. Having those components be 64bit is something to consider…especially depending on how much RAM you are throwing at the box, how scalable you need to be down the road, etc.

Another aspect that was mentioned by Tim (see acknowledgements below) in this conversation is that when SCCM does become 64bit, if you are already installed on x64 Windows, you won’t have to do a migration…should just be a simple upgrade…whatever simple looks like.

Now with all that said, the official line that I have read is that best performance is achieved by offloading SQL to a remote x64 SQL box and install SCCM on 32bit Windows Server 2003. As a side note…one consensus that I did see in the research I did was that if possible, put SQL on a remote box…offload it from the SCCM server. And preferably, offload it to an x64 SQL server. Although I will note that the official SCCM documentation recommends to keep SQL and SCCM on the same box. Perhaps this is a case of the “Microsoft answer” vs. the “real world” answer. One major thing to note about offloading SQL…read this post on

All that said. You need to determine what is best for your environment. Personally, I’m offloading SQL to an x64 (Itanium) cluster and installing SCCM on an x64 Windows server (virtual). My main considerations were that I can afford to lose the performance to the 32bit-64bit conversion…my environment isn’t big enough for that to be a major issue. What this does give me is in theory an easier upgrade path when SCCM goes 64bit.

A couple of links to more info can be found here, here, here and here.

I’d like to acknowledge that the majority of this post is me consolidating information I got from Tim Benjamin, Joey Gleason, the SCCM documentation and a couple of posts in the Microsoft Technet forums. Thanks guys.

[NOTE: I have revisited this thought process in a more recent blog post. I no longer recommend what I wrote above.] 

October 31, 2007 - Posted by | ConfigMgr

1 Comment »

  1. […] more diligent about posting to his blog than I am actually posted much of my long standing opinion here. Much to Jarvis’s chagrin I am going to change my opinion in light of some recent […]

    Pingback by SCCM x64 vs. x86 Update « Tim’s Whiteboard | March 14, 2008

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