Domino x86 64-bit

Thursday 22nd December, 2005
Was having a good chat with Colman earlier about hardware, OS etc. and started talking about 64-bit CPUs and the requirement for them. My summary was that I didn't feel that x86 Domino will EVER be ported to a 64-bit platform. I thought it might make for some interesting blog discussion. Here's some of our chatlog after Colman told me he may be buying some new kit:

Ben (12:46:38 PM): AMD...why?
Colman (12:47:05 PM): 64bit....future-proofing. Allows my to experiment with 64-bit Linux OS's too.
Colman (12:47:32 PM): And it's only £75
Ben (12:48:19 PM): are you ever going to use a 64-bit OS in the lifetime of this CPU? what OS do you intend to use? is it 64-bit? are your apps 64-bit? where's the benefit?
Colman (12:48:41 PM): So what would you recommend ?
Colman (12:48:56 PM): Not that I'm accepting your point, just wondering ;-)
Ben (12:49:15 PM): is it multi-threaded for 32-bit?
Ben (12:49:29 PM): i.e. does it install as 2 logical processors?:
Colman (12:49:52 PM): Nope, pay a lot more for that.
Ben (12:50:06 PM): so it's effectively single CPU = sucks
Ben (12:50:19 PM): depends on requirement, but multi-CPU is a vast difference
Ben (12:50:43 PM): gamers love their AMD 64s and more and more games are being optimised for them but for point
Ben (12:51:08 PM): nearly all mainstream apps are still 32-bit, but support multi-threaded platforms
Ben (12:51:40 PM): without a 64-bit OS, it a complete waste really
Ben (12:52:14 PM): you can get 64-bit XP...but there's no software to run on it really
Colman (12:52:34 PM): But that's where Linux comes in. Given that it'll primarily be serving files and running Domino.....!
Ben (12:52:41 PM): Notes/Domino will only ever be 32-bit on x86
Ben (12:52:53 PM): Domino on Linux is 32-bit too
Colman (12:53:08 PM): For now
Ben (12:53:16 PM): repeat, there will be no x86 Notes/Domino code
Ben (12:53:18 PM): ever
Ben (12:53:51 PM): so, i ask again...why 64-bit?
Colman (12:54:17 PM): How come....if server OS's are heading to 64-bit (and Exchange will require 64-bit) then why no 64-bit Domino ?
Ben (12:54:37 PM): that's where workplace comes in
Ben (12:54:45 PM): Domino is 64-bit on AS400
Colman (12:54:57 PM): Domino running in workpalce ???
Ben (12:55:14 PM): workplace is 64-bit and so will be the workplace managed client
Ben (12:55:24 PM): Notes standalone will never be re-written 64-bit
Colman (12:55:25 PM): Yeah, but that's front-end
Colman (12:55:36 PM): Not talking about Notes.
Ben (12:55:59 PM): you think they'll ever bother recoding x86 Domino to 64-bit?
Ben (12:56:04 PM): why? where's the advantage?
Colman (12:56:33 PM): If the market wants it then it should happen. And MS are pushing people that way.
Ben (12:56:47 PM): all it does is raise the 2GB per process memory limitation, anyone well over that is already not on x86
Ben (12:57:49 PM): no intel based Domino customers will ever need 64-bit
Ben (12:57:57 PM): they'll move before that
Colman (12:58:11 PM): Sound like Bill Gates saying 64KB will be enough for everyone ;-)
Ben (12:58:17 PM): haha
Ben (12:58:28 PM): yes, but i'm speaking from knowledge of the market
Colman (12:58:37 PM): And he wasn;t ?
Ben (12:58:40 PM): there aren't any majorly big intel boxes out there
Ben (12:58:48 PM): there wasn't a market when he said it
Colman (12:58:59 PM): Heading that way, especially with virtualisation.

Do you get my point? They're not going to re-engineer the Notes client, that's for sure. By Notes 7.5/8(Hannover) we'll not be running Notes as we know it, instead it will be a plug-in for this workplace managed client that will most likely be available in 64-bit variants. But Domino...well...will they? At the point in the future where 32-bit is regarded 'legacy' where will the Domino market be? As I see it, the massive demanding sights are already running Domino on 64-bit ready platforms but what about the smaller sights...those that are running Domino happily within the constraints of 2GB RAM.

We all know the next Exchange version requires 64-bit but is it ever going to be an option for Domino on x86?

  1. 1) Richard Schwartz Said: (22/12/2005 16:43:16 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Domino x86 64-bit

    See here, and particularly the comments... { Link }

  2. 2) Andy Dennis Said: (26/12/2005 22:48:55 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Domino x86 64-bit

    Erm.. Isn't Solaris 64Bit ?

  3. 3) Elijah Lapson Said: (27/12/2005 13:15:24 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Domino x86 64-bit

    It seems as if it would not take a huge amount of resources to port the Notes/Domino Code over to x86-64. While available in the 64Bit variety under proprietary OS sytem from IBM/SUN it would be nice for organizations with smaller hardware budgets to have the option of running x86-64 based Domino servers on Windows and Linux. I can not image the ported code would not have significant performance increases for relatively little porting effort.


  4. 4) Steve Cogan Said: (31/03/2006 14:30:53 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Domino x86 64-bit - there are known unknowns...

    Over at Richard Schwartz's site I agree with a lot of what has been said - especially the allusions to the Rumsfeldian, "There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns," relating to what would actually happen implementing Domino on x64 Intel platforms - i.e, removing some limits may open up other limits we don't yet know about!

    What makes this interesting is the announcements by IBM that they actually DO have a 64-bit roadmap for Domino on Intel. Starting with R7.02 64-bit 'compatibility' mode will be supported for Intel OS's; Windows2003 x64, Linux (SLES & RHEL).

    In my experience one of the main limiting factors of Domino scaling on a 32-bit W/Intel platform has always been the 'page-pool' issue discussed in this IBM technote: { Link }

    I've explored this issue up close with Notesbench benchmarks on large Domino/Windows systems and have to admit I'm actually 'excited' (hard for a Brit to admit!) that R70.2 will support Domino on x64 platforms.

    **In theory** the 'page-pool' limitation on Domino managing large amounts of open-databases has been blown away.

    The difference between Domino running in 64-bit 'compatibility' mode on x64 and a 'full' 64-bit Domino release will probably be full memory addressing.

    However - an interim workaround for getting Domino to address more physical server memory for x64 in R7.02 (before the 'full' 64-bit release in Domino 'Next') would be, as discussed earlier, use of partitioned servers.

    By using multiple Domino partitions, I've seen Domino address way more than the theoretical 32-bit limits in my tests.

    Any thoughts?


    Steve. (PCLP R5/R6)

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