As time goes on, more and more systems are moving towards 64 bit architecture. Pretty much all new servers are 64 bit, and the vast majority of desktop/laptop systems are 64 bit as well. (And if you are running SPARC hardware, well, then you’ve been running 64 bit hardware since 1995, but that’s a different story.) We at GeoServer HQ are starting to get this question more and more: Does GeoServer run on 64 bit systems?
The quick answer: yes!
GeoServer is built entirely on Java. Therefore, it can run on any hardware supported by Sun’s Java Runtime Environment. Unlike compiled languages, like C++, as long as the JRE supports the architecture, GeoServer can come along for the ride. Happily, 64 bit support exists in Java. So without any redesign or recompiling on our part, GeoServer can be run on 64 bit systems. That’s points for Java!
However, there are some caveats. Sun’s 64 bit JRE has been known be a bit buggier than their 32 bit version, which could be of concern in a production environment. Also, and probably related, performance takes a small hit with 64 bit (on the order of a few percent). Although there will be more discussion here later about performance tips, this seems like as good a place as any to mention that if performance is an issue on your system, we recommend that you look at updating your JRE to the latest version, if you can. Version 1.5 is much faster than 1.4, and version 1.6 appears to be roughly twice as fast as 1.5 in the context of running GeoServer. So, if you are moving to 64 bit but can’t afford the performance hit, you may want to look at updating your Java version as well.
Moving to 64 bit doesn’t need to be an either/or situation either. Our servers here (all 64 bit) are running both 32 bit and 64 bit Java instances, with few difficulties. Your mileage may vary. And of course, the big advantage of 64 bit is the ability to access more than 4 GB of RAM. This may not be an issue in your environment now, but if history is any guide, it will be eventually.
For more information on running GeoServer in a production environment, please see this guide.
Many software companies are at pains to inform the community when they offer 64 bit support. We have never explicitly mentioned this feature before because it has been offered from the beginning. We can’t take credit for the work, but we can surely enjoy the perks.
GeoWebCache has been pulled apart and put together again with Spring, the result is version 0.8.0 (click here to download WAR and source) and it is much more modular and configurable than previous versions. The goal of this exercise was to make it easier to integrate with GeoServer, which has already been done and will be documented very soon. GWC can now configure itself automatically based on a WMS getCapabilities document and serve both EPSG:4326 and EPSG:900913 using the same layer definition. It can also create KML super-overlays for Google Earth, in addition to the Virtual Earth and Google Maps support that was introduced in 0.7.2.
Along the way I learned that there have been some issues with JPEG and metatiling, and consequently GeoWebCache now falls back to Java 2D (instead of JAI) when dealing with those. Note that URLs used in GWC, and a few configuration parameters, have changed since the previous version.
The GeoServer team would like to announce the release of 1.6.3. This is a stable release containing over 30 patches and improvements since 1.6.2.
One of the more visible additions is support for watermarking. People have been asking for this for some time, so thanks to GeoSolutions for implementing it. Also, coverage reprojection now works much better. Thanks to Martin Desruisseaux of Geomatys for the continued support on the GeoServer CRS subsystem. KML generation has been optimized (faster, less memory consumption) especially when dealing with large geometries. GeoServer supports so many projections natively, but that can have its downsides, namely when certain clients aren’t prepared for the size of the capabilities document! Now the SRS list can be limited in the WMS capabilities. Special thanks to Gabriel Roldán for the above two features.
You can view the 1.6.3 changelog for details, and download from geoserver.org. Thanks to the community for continually improving GeoServer. Please continue to submit those bug reports and feature requests.
Development pushes ever on here, and I’d like to mention that the very first build of the 1.7.x branch has been released. 1.7.0-alpha1 is very much an alpha release, with the usual applicable caveats. The major developments are Xlink support for WFS 1.1 and a full implementation of WCS 1.1.1. This release is based on GeoTools 2.5.x.
GeoTools 2.5.x contains the new feature model, which should be able to handle the full complexity of GML and any other model that architects may throw at us. There is still a lot of work to fully incorporate it in to GeoServer, but this alpha release does represent the first step forward towards that goal.
The Open Planning Project (TOPP), the main sponsor of GeoServer development, is pleased to announce the recent hiring of Andreas Hocevar, one of the top five committers of OpenLayers, the default front end mapping engine for GeoServer. Andreas has been doing a lot of work in OpenLayers on SLD, the open standard to style maps, which is what GeoServer uses to define styles. His initial work will be focused on intuitive creation of SLDs for GeoServer, utilizing OpenLayers and the Ext.js gui framework. This will be one of the main pieces of the plan to let everyone remix maps. Afterwards he will continue to work on applications built on both frameworks and open standards. We are excited to have Andreas aboard to help TOPP continue to expand its offerings to a full open geospatial stack, and to strengthen the relationship between GeoServer and OpenLayers.