Lots of interesting news and announcements coming out of the SharePoint 2009 Conference that started today in Las Vegas. Microsoft’s Jie Lie has a good post up describing the technical requirements for SharePoint 2010, which include requiring x64 Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 (which is x64 only), and either SQL Server 2005 SP3 CU3, SQL Server 2008 SP1 CU2, or SQL Server 2008 R2. There is also a recommendation of 8GB of RAM for your SharePoint server.
All of these make sense to me. The 32-bit era is really drawing to a close. Nearly any server sold in the last 2-3 years supports x64, while Windows Server 2008 R2 is x64 only. Now, we know that SharePoint 2010 is x64 only, while Exchange 2007 and 2010 are x64 only. I would bet money that the next full version of SQL Server (after 2008 R2) will be x64 only. I hope it is!
Getting back to the more immediate future, I think it would be pretty foolish to use SQL Server 2005 with an upcoming new installation of SharePoint 2010, since you would really want to be using SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2 by then. According to Mary Jo Foley, SharePoint 2010 is due to be released around May/June 2010 (along with Office 2010), not long after Visual Studio 2010 is released. SQL Server 2008 R2 will probably make an appearance around the same time, using common sense as a guide.
Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 should be well established by then, perhaps even with a Service Pack 1 being available (which is an important milestone for many customers). I could see Microsoft making a big unified push for all of these new releases at TechEd 2010, which is June 7-11, 2010 in New Orleans. Of course, all of this is just speculation on my part, based on published reports…
My production SQL Server infrastructure has been 100% x64 since about June 2006, starting on Windows Server 2003 R2 and SQL Server 2005, and now on Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008. In a few weeks, we will be on Windows Server 2008 R2 as part of a big server consolidation project. I would never want to go back to x86.