There's been a lot of talk about Exchange 2007 from the perspective of the shipping version being available only as a 64-bit release.  Most of the Exchange world seems to think that the move to 64-bit is a good thing for server headroom, for example, from Jim McBee's weblog:

The 64-bit move for Exchange 2007 means "more RAM". That translates in to better performance, more efficient disk I/O (which is where larger servers have problems), and the ability to add more features that require improved I/O. Exchange 2003 is quite simply maxed out as far as what it can do; it is constrained by the amount of RAM it can access and therefore has to "go to disk" too often on a busier server.
OK, I guess that would make sense if I hadn't seen what Microsoft is recommending for RAM profiles for Exchange 2007.  I realize this is beta, but I assume it's close to the recommendation that will be made for release:
For Beta 2, 1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM per server plus 7MB per user minimum, 2 gigabytes (GBs) of RAM per server plus 10MB per user recommended.

Note
The above minimum requirements and recommendations are based on our internal testing of Beta 2. These requirements and recommendations may change in the release to manufacturing version of Exchange 2007. The recommended memory configuration is suggested as a way to optimize performance for Exchange 2007. Specifically, it allows Exchange to use an appropriately sized database cache, which reduces database disk I/O. These recommendations are oriented towards authorized production environments that have many users with large, frequently used mailboxes.
OK so let me get this straight.  10 MB RAM per user on top of a base 2 GB.  So, a 500 user server needs 7 GB of real (not virtual) RAM .  And if Exchange 2007's 64-bit architecture is supposed to be all about RAM, can someone explain to me how this is supposed to work?  A Dell PowerEdge 6800 maxes out at 64 GB of RAM -- which would be enough for no more than 6200 users.  At a cost of, hmmmm, US$70,000+ -- just for an e-mail server!  Now that's price/performance.

So let's summarize.  To deploy Exchange 2007, you need -
  • 64-bit servers (which may mean a hardware replacement)
  • Running a 64-bit operating system (which means an OS-level upgrade)
  • With many GBs of RAM
  • Possible redundant server hardware for continuous replication
  • New Enterprise CALs (cost unknown) to use many of the new features
  • New version of Office, Outlook, SharePoint, and Office Communications Server to leverage all features

Seems to bring a whole new level of "rip and replace" to the Microsoft-minded.

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