Overview of 64-bit Processing
64-bit Migration SupportThanks to the release of Microsoft Windows 7, the business justification for upgrading to 64-bit computing has never seemed more compelling. Still, most network managers are predictably reluctant to launch a significant upgrade task when the primary benefits — improved stability, scalability, and speed — are too intangible to evaluate with precision. As a Microsoft Gold Partner with years of experience assisting companies to carry out network-wide upgrade projects, Progent can assist you to assess the risks and benefits of adopting 64-bit processing, design an efficient upgrade scheme that minimizes productivity interruptions, and provide affordable, expert remote consulting as you upgrade the system software powering your existing servers and desktops.

For most business networks, 64-bit computing is a great untapped power source. Both Intel and AMD, the leading CPU manufacturers, have been delivering 64-bit capability in their commodity CPUs for years, with the result that all classes of business computers including notebooks, desktop PCs, engineering workstations and advanced servers already have the ability to operate in 64-bit format. Yet most of these in-place computers still run 32-bit operating systems.

The primary cause for this widespread reluctance to participate in the 64-bit revolution is that the real advantage for updating existing computers has seemed to be small in relation to the work required. There is no seamless process to upgrade from a 32 to a 64-bit operating system. The enhancement demands a clean install, which means reinstalling current programs, backing up and restoring data files, and configuring new drivers. This demands thoughtful planning to do economically. Meanwhile, most desktop applications are still available only in 32-bit versions, so what's the advantage?

Advantages of Moving Up to 64-bit Computing
The advantages of 64-bit vs. 32-bit computing may appear to be vague and hard to define precisely, yet they are real. The RAM memory management schemes utilized by 32-bit systems are basically an engineering afterthought that limits stability. Memory-starved applications are sometimes not allowed to access free RAM because the O/S cannot assign it effectively. This results in software freezing or running fitfully even when a machine appears to have ample unused memory. In addition, 64-bit operating systems support much more addressable RAM than 32-bit ones and crunch twice as much information per CPU cycle. You can also switch from one memory-intensive application to another faster when using a 64-bit system. Fundamentally, 64-bit computing makes environments more reliable, more scalable, and faster, which makes companies more productive.

Microsoft's x64 Initiative
Microsoft's “x64” software works with the 64-bit processors found in most servers and desktop PCs currently installed in office IT systems. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" initiative is restricted to a few high-end Intel/AMD CPUs and is designed for applications that need large-scale multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop applications such as 2007 Office and Visual Studio 2005 were offered only in 32-bit versions, which can nevertheless be run on x64 Windows. The new generation of Office delivers significant enhancements. For example, Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit version that allows you to create spreadsheets with enormous datasets that are not restricted to the 2-gigabyte file size imposed by 32-bit editions of Office Excel.

Microsoft has developed native x64 versions of many Microsoft Server System products, including Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and 2003, SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server 2007, Microsoft BizTalk Server, plus System Center Operations Manager. Windows Server x64 versions are priced identically to 32-bit editions, so in most circumstances you pay nothing extra for 64-bit server software or hardware.

For workstations, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price 64-bit versions that provide high dependability, capacity, and throughput. Like all upgrades from 32- to 64-bit operating systems, the upgrade can’t be carried out seamlessly. Each workstation and server requires a clean installation that involves reinstalling application software, backing up and restoring data files, and installing 64-bit drivers. In fact, for most in-place workstations, and for all PCs powered by Microsoft Windows XP, any release of Windows 7 or Windows 8 will require you to carry out a "from scratch" installation. This being the case, there has never been a better time to move to x64 computing on the workstation, since it will involve scarcely any additional work.

How Progent Can Help Your Business to Upgrade to 64-bit Processing
In addition to assisting you to evaluate the business benefits, expenses, and technical variables attached to migrating to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft Gold-certified consultants can help you plan, document, implement, manage, and troubleshoot a network-wide migration to 64-bit server and client OS software and applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit environment to make sure it handles all of the key 32-bit applications which you intend to retain plus the new 64-bit versions of applications you plan to run. If adopting Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your x64 upgrade strategy, Progent's certified Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 evaluation and migration experts can help you to determine which workstation computers and applications can or should be preserved, and outline an upgrade process that is minimally disturbing to your network operations.

Other ways Progent's consultants can help your business to migrate to x64 processing include:

  • Progent's expertise delivering online computer support services can save you time and money during your x64 upgrade, and Progent's background working with internal IT staffs and delivering technical knowledge sharing to them can improve the effectiveness of your support team.

  • Progent's Cisco CCIE network consultants can verify that your network infrastructure is optimized to accommodate your x64 computing solution, that it is simple to monitor, manage, and repair, and that it offers a high level of data protection and fault tolerance.

  • Progent's business continuity engineers can assist you in creating and testing a business continuity plan that incorporates your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) engineering professionals can help you to deploy Microsoft System Center SCDPM to provide near-continuous remote backup with the advantage of rapid system restoration.

  • Progent's CISM and CISA certified network security consultants can help you create a comprehensive security strategy that deploys some of the new security mechanisms included with 64-bit servers. Progent can also perform network security vulnerability testing to assess or confirm your company's adherence to mandated security standards.

  • Progent's virtualization consultants can help you utilize 64-bit virtual server technology to leverage your hardware, streamline administration, improve reliability, cut colocation expenses, and speed up restoration time in the event of a catastrophic breakdown.

  • Progent's live online instruction can help bring your network support team and your office workers up to speed rapidly and affordably by delivering interactive online webinars customized for your computing environment and operational processes.
Contact Progent for Support for Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
To learn additional details about how Progent can help you to migrate to x64 computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.