Introduction to 64-bit Computing
64-bit Upgrade HelpWith the availability of Windows 7, the business case for migrating to 64-bit computing has never seemed more compelling. Still, most IT administrators are understandably hesitant to take on a major upgrade project when the primary benefits — increased dependability, scalability, and speed — are excessively vague to evaluate precisely. Being a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of background assisting companies to carry out system-wide migration projects, Progent can assist your company to assess the risks and rewards of moving to 64-bit computing, design an economical migration scheme that reduces business disruptions, and deliver cost-effective, high-level online support as you upgrade the system software powering your current computers.

With most business IT systems, 64-bit computing is a great unexploited power source. Intel and AMD, the leading CPU chip makers, have been incorporating 64-bit capability in their commodity CPUs for years, with the result that all types of business computers such as laptops, desktop computers, engineering workstations and advanced servers now possess the ability to operate in 64-bit mode. However most of these in-place computers continue to run 32-bit software platforms.

The primary cause for this widespread reluctance to participate in the 64-bit millennium is that the real benefit for updating in-place computers has seemed to be modest in comparison to the work needed. There is no seamless process to upgrade from a 32 to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade demands a clean installation, which means reinstalling existing programs, backing up and restoring data, and configuring new drivers. This demands careful planning to do efficiently. Meanwhile, many popular desktop productivity software are currently offered only in 32-bit versions, so where's the benefit?

Advantages of Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit over 32-bit computing may seem vague and hard to quantify, but they are significant. The RAM allocation techniques utilized by 32-bit operating systems are essentially an engineering band-aid that undermines system stability. RAM-hungry programs are often not able to access free RAM because the O/S is unable to allocate it efficiently. This can be the cause of programs shutting down or executing erratically even when a machine seems to have ample unused memory. Also, 64-bit software platforms allow much more addressable RAM than 32-bit systems and process twice as much data per clock cycle. You can also go from one memory-intensive application to another more quickly while using a 64-bit system. Fundamentally, 64-bit processing makes systems more stable, more scalable, and more efficient, which makes businesses more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Software
Microsoft's “x64” technology works with the 64-bit CPUs used in virtually all servers and desktop PCs now installed in office IT environments. (Microsoft's "Itanium" platform is limited to special high-end processors and is designed for environments that require massive multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Microsoft Office 2010, most Microsoft desktop applications such as 2007 Office and Visual Studio 2005 were available only in 32-bit versions, which can still be used on x64 Windows. The latest family of Office delivers dramatic enhancements. As an example, Microsoft Office Excel 2010 is available in a 64-bit edition that permits you to build spreadsheets with enormous datasets that are not restricted to the 2-gigabyte file size imposed by previous releases of Microsoft Office Excel.

Microsoft offers native x64 editions of many Microsoft Server platforms, including Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server 2007, BizTalk Server 2006, plus Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server x64 versions are priced and licensed the same as 32-bit counterparts, so typically it costs nothing extra for 64-bit server operating systems or machines.

For client computers, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price x64 editions that offer advanced stability, capacity, and throughput. Like all migrations from 32- to 64-bit platforms, the move up can’t be carried out without effort. Each desktop PC and server requires a clean installation that involves reconfiguring application software, backing up and recovering data files, and configuring 64-bit drivers. In fact, for typical current desktop PCs, and for all PCs powered by XP, the 32 or 64-bit edition of Windows 7 or 8 will require you to perform a "from scratch" install. This being the case, there will never be a better opportunity to migrate to x64 computing on the desktop, since it will involve scarcely any additional work.

How Progent Can Help You to Migrate to 64-bit Computing
Besides helping your organization to understand the practical benefits, costs, and technical variables attached to migrating to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you design, document, implement, manage, and troubleshoot a system-wide move to 64-bit server and desktop operating systems and applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit environment to verify that it handles all of the key 32-bit applications which you want to keep plus the new 64-bit editions of software you wish to install. If adopting Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your 64-bit migration plan, Progent's certified Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 evaluation and migration consultants can help your company to decide which desktop computers and programs can or should be preserved, and outline a migration process that is the least disturbing to your business operations.

Other ways Progent's consultants can assist your business to upgrade to x64 processing include:

  • Progent's experience providing remote computer consulting and troubleshooting can save you time and money over the course of your x64 upgrade, and Progent's experience working with in-house support personnel and delivering technical information transfer to them can increase the effectiveness of your network support staff.

  • Progent's certified Cisco CCIE network engineers can verify that your network architecture is optimized to support your 64-bit computing solution, that it is simple to track, manage, and repair, and that it offers a high degree of data protection and reliability.

  • Progent's disaster recovery consultants can assist you in creating and validating a business continuity strategy that includes your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center SCDPM engineering experts can help you to configure Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to provide automated online backup with the advantage of rapid system recovery.

  • Progent's CISM and CISA certified security specialists can assist you create a comprehensive security strategy that implements some of the new security technologies incorporated into x64 server platforms. Progent can also provide network security vulnerability testing to assess or confirm your network's compliance with industry or government security standards.

  • Progent's virtualization consultants can help you utilize 64-bit virtual server technology to conserve hardware resources, streamline management, enhance dependability, lower colocation expenses, and reduce restoration time in case of a catastrophic breakdown.

  • Progent's online education can help bring both your network management staff and your office workers up to date quickly and affordably by providing remote virtual training customized for your network environment and operational procedures.
Contact Progent for Support for Upgrading to x64 Computing
To learn additional information about how Progent's engineers can assist your business to migrate to x64 computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.