Introduction to 64-bit Computing
64-bit Migration SupportWith the release of Windows 7, the business justification for moving to 64-bit processing has never been better. Still, many network managers are predictably reluctant to take on a significant migration project when the primary advantages — improved dependability, capacity, and performance — are too vague to evaluate with precision. Being a Microsoft Gold Partner with more than a decade of background helping companies to implement network-wide migrations, Progent can assist your company to understand the risks and rewards of moving to 64-bit computing, create an economical migration scheme that reduces business interruptions, and provide affordable, expert remote consulting while you upgrade the software powering your current computers.

With most business networks, 64-bit processing is a great untapped power source. Both 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 classes of business computers including laptops, desktop PCs, engineering workstations and advanced servers now possess the architecture to run in 64-bit mode. Yet most of these in-place computers still host 32-bit operating systems and applications.

The primary cause for this widespread hesitation to join the 64-bit revolution is that the business benefit for upgrading in-place systems has seemed to be small in relation to the work required. There is no automatic process to migrate from a 32 to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade demands a clean installation, which calls for reinstalling current programs, saving and recovering data, and installing new drivers. This requires thoughtful planning to do economically. Furthermore, many popular office applications are still offered only in 32-bit editions, so where's the advantage?

Benefits of Moving Up to 64-bit Computing
The advantages of 64-bit vs. 32-bit processing may appear to be subtle and hard to define precisely, but they are significant. The RAM partitioning techniques used in 32-bit operating systems are essentially a technical band-aid that limits system stability. Memory-starved applications are sometimes not allowed to access available memory because the operating system is unable to allocate it effectively. This results in software shutting down or executing erratically even though a computer seems to have plenty of available memory. Also, 64-bit software platforms allow far more addressable RAM than 32-bit ones and crunch twice as much data per CPU cycle. You can also jump from one RAM-intensive program to another faster when you are running in a 64-bit environment. Fundamentally, 64-bit processing makes environments more stable, more expandable, and faster, which makes companies more productive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Software
Microsoft's “x64” software works with the 64-bit processors used in virtually all computers now installed in business networks. (Microsoft's "Itanium" support is limited to special advanced processors and is designed for environments that need massive multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Office 2010, most Microsoft desktop programs including Microsoft Office 2007 and Visual Studio 2005 were offered solely in 32-bit versions, which can nevertheless be run on x64 Windows. The latest family of Office 2010 offers dramatic enhancements. As an example, Microsoft Office Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit edition that permits you to build spreadsheets with enormous datasets that are not limited to the 2-gigabyte file size that hampers 32-bit versions of Excel.

Microsoft has developed native x64 versions of key Microsoft Server System products, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, Commerce Server, BizTalk Server 2006, as well as Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server x64 versions are priced identically to 32-bit versions, so in most circumstances you pay nothing more for 64-bit server software or hardware.

For client computers, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price x64 versions that provide advanced stability, scalability, and performance. As with all upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit platforms, the upgrade can’t be done seamlessly. Each desktop PC and server needs a clean setup that entails reinstalling application software, backing up and restoring data, and installing 64-bit device drivers. In fact, for most current desktop PCs, and for every PC powered by XP, any release of Windows 7 or 8 requires you to carry out a clean install. This being the case, there has never been a better opportunity to upgrade to x64 processing on the workstation, since it will involve little additional work.

How Progent Can Help Your Business to Upgrade to 64-bit Processing
In addition to helping your organization to evaluate the business benefits, costs, and technical risks associated with upgrading to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft certified consultants can help you design, document, implement, administer, and repair a system-wide move to 64-bit server and client operating systems and business applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit environment to make sure it handles all of the important 32-bit applications which you intend to retain as well as the new 64-bit versions of applications you wish to run. If moving to Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your 64-bit upgrade plan, Progent's certified Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 planning and upgrade consultants can assist you to determine which workstation hardware and applications can or should be retained, and design a migration procedure that is the least disturbing to your business operations.

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

  • Progent's expertise delivering remote computer consulting and troubleshooting can save you time and expense over the course of your 64-bit upgrade, and Progent's background working with in-house IT staffs and delivering technical information sharing to them can improve the effectiveness of your support team.

  • Progent's certified Cisco CCIE network consultants can verify that your network architecture is optimized to accommodate your x64 processing environment, that it is simple to monitor, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it offers a high level of data protection and fault tolerance.

  • Progent's business continuity engineers can help 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 support experts can help you to deploy Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to provide continuous online backup with the capability of fast data restoration.

  • Progent's CISSP and GIAC network security experts can help you create a company-wide security plan that implements some of the new protection mechanisms included with 64-bit servers. Progent can also provide network security vulnerability checking to evaluate or verify your company's adherence to mandated security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization consultants can help you benefit from 64-bit virtual server technology to save money on hardware, simplify administration, improve robustness, cut hosting expenses, and speed up recovery time in case of a disaster.

  • Progent's online education can help get both your network management staff and your desktop workers up to speed rapidly and cost-effectively by delivering online webinars specialized for your network environment and business procedures.
Contact Progent for Support for Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
To find out more details about how Progent's engineers can help your business to migrate to x64 computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.