Page Two

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-04-24 Print this article Print

Tullis pointed to customers such as Liberty Medical—a PolyMedica Corp. company that provides direct-to-home diabetes and respiratory medications and supplies—as the typical of the type of company that will benefit from running SQL Server databases in a 64-bit environment. Liberty Medical has been testing 64-bit SQL Server 2000 to evaluate its potential to process orders that come in by phone or via the Web. An e-commerce setup like Liberty Medical requires ample RAM in order to accommodate the large numbers of concurrent users who access the Web site to research or order products. SQL Server 2000 for 64-bit has been tested with 512GB of addressable memory space—a considerable boost from the 4GB that Microsoft officials considered the threshold for a large data set prior to 64-bit, according to Tullis. Liberty Medical has benchmarked the 64-bit database and seen 159 percent increased performance in terms of actual transactions being processed, she said.
Other enterprises that stand to gain from the capacity for more concurrent users and faster performance include those handling large data sets—such as are churned out by supply chain management applications—or those processing complex data models. John Hopkins University is one such enterprise. The Baltimore-based university is testing SQL Server 2000 for 64-bit running huge algorithms used in mapping the sky. According to Tullis, the university is now outputting forecasted sky maps much quicker: Operations that once took six months now take 10 days.
Large business intelligence and data warehousing projects will also get a boost from 64-bit, since the technology enables the building of larger OLAP cubes that present the results of such projects. But the prospect of running such projects faster and better doesnt lure small, budget-challenged customers to 64-bit, in spite of the fact that the technology is getting commoditized. Robert Lardizabal, a database administrator for a company that services the credit-counseling industry and that he declined to name, said that SQL Server 2000 is running just fine without 64-bit support. "The problem with 64-bit is you need 64-bit machines to run it on," said Lardizabal, in Columbia, Md. "When we were looking at improving performance on our Web site, we did throw around the idea of implementing a 64-bit solution, but … it would be one solution wed evaluate after we went through all our other options." Those other options wound up being more Web and application servers, rewriting the site in .Net, segmenting Internet connections, and implementing compression technology—a smorgasbord of approaches that wound up having a "dramatic" improvement in performance, he said. Another reason Lardizabals company isnt rushing out to implement SQL Server for 64-bit is, like many companies, it has a wait-and-see attitude. "Our approach to adopting or implementing software, especially from Microsoft, is to allow the technology to settle for eight months to a year and wait for the first service pack to address the bugs that come out," he said. Customers who now have a SQL Server 2000 license will be able to replace their existing license with the 64-bit version for no additional cost. Another way to get 64-bit SQL Server 2000 will be to purchase equipment from manufacturers including Dell Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Unisys Corp. and NEC Corp. Oracle9i Database Release 2 for 32- and 64-bit Windows Server 2003 can be downloaded from Oracle Technology Network. This story was changed after it original posting to correct and add to the benchmark information. For more on Windows Server 2003, see our special section.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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