The day has come when Microsoft officially started to talk about the next version of Office 2010 clients and SharePoint Server 2010 (no longer Office SharePoint Server). We have since some time known that SharePoint 2010 will be supported only on a 64-bit platform, just as Exchange 2007.
The new stuff revealed yesterday (as preliminary) are that not only is 64-bit required, it will only be supported on the Windows Server 2008 64-bit platform (including R2) and it will require that you have SQL Server 2008 on a 64-bit platform. There are some other interesting facts that you should check out also in the post (and on about 1.000 other blog posts), but this post is not just about these news.
The interesting parts of this announcement is that now is the time to learn the 64-bit platform for real and especially Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008, not everything is the same; registry hives, file system, settings, know when to use int (Int32) or Int64 etc etc. You can start now, it's no time to wait! Make a decision to only install your new SharePoint installations on the required SharePoint 2010 hardware, make sure that you have that in your development environments and on your virtual machines. Yes, it will in many cases cost you a bit in new hardware.
I think that this is the time when 64-bit really will kill the 32-bit era.
As a bonus I can tell you one thing that I didn't know was achievable. My main laptop runs 32-bit Windows 7 and not 64-bit due to that it does not have the 64-bit driver support for the peripherals and I usually use(d) Virtual PC to virtualize my development servers. Downside with Virtual PC is that you guest machines can only be 32-bit and I don't want to have a Hyper-V laptop in 64-bit mode so I thought that I had to get me a new laptop (which is due for later). I was preparing for the worst of having a dual boot. Fortunately I did a test using VMWare Workstation today and found out that as long as you have a 64-bit capable hardware (which I have) you can host 64-bit guests on a 32-bit host OS. Did you know that, I did not! So I will spend this evening preparing my new development VM's. If you are in the same situation as me, stuck with a 32-bit OS for some time, head on over to VMWare and run the 64-bit compatibility checker and then dump Virtual PC and get VMWare Workstation.
Welcome to the 64-bit world!