UiPath in 64-bit?

UiPath may be moving to a 64-bit architecture to address larger memories. What's that about?

February 27, 2021
431 words (3 min read)

What is 64-bit?

In case you don’t know that much about computer science: computers use memory (RAM) to store information that they need to do their thing. But how can they find the information again later? To do that, they store something called an address. 64-bit refers to the size of that address (as compared to, say, 32-bit, 16-bit or 8-bit).

As the amount of system memory manufacturers wanted to include increased over time, it became necessary several times in history to increase the bitness of the platform, and this is a pretty major change that breaks backward compatibility. The last time this happened (in the early 2000s), we went from 32 bits, which is able to address about 3.5-4 GB of RAM, to 64 bits, which can address around 17 billion GB. Funnily enough, the amount of addressable memory in the new architecture seemed inconceivably huge every time. I’d bet we’ll get to using our 64 bits in the next 25 years or so.

Why the move?

Due to some quirks with the .NET runtime, the actual limit for UiPath is somewhere around 1.5 GB (according to my own testing). Try to load in more data than that and it’ll crash. Called an out-of-memory exception, this is obviously not good, so in use cases where you are trying to shuffle large volumes of data around, this can force you to work around the problem by batching even when your computer has plenty of memory available.

This is probably the main reason UiPath is considering to move to a 64-bit architecture. I’ve seen the issue come up first-hand a couple of times with customers, and, to be honest, there is little downside to the change: the number of 32-bit Windows systems still around, where you would also want to run RPA, is likely to be negligible.No, just because I work at UiPath, I wasn’t part of the discussions, so I don’t know the exact reasoning.

What to do?

For now, this is limited to the Community Edition — but since that tends to serve as a test bed for Enterprise, I would expect that to change in a few months. As long as you have a PC built some time in the last decade, there’s really nothing to worry about. If you know that this will be a problem for you, however, please let us know in the forums.

© 2021, Stefan Reutter