Preparing for 64-bit Computing
64-bit Upgrade HelpWith the release of Microsoft Windows 7, the business justification for upgrading to 64-bit computing has never seemed better. Still, most IT administrators are predictably reluctant to launch a significant migration project when the primary advantages — improved stability, capacity, and performance — are excessively vague to evaluate precisely. Being a Microsoft Gold Partner with years of background helping businesses to implement network-wide upgrades, Progent can assist your company to assess the risks and benefits of moving to 64-bit computing, create an economical upgrade scheme that reduces operational disruptions, and provide affordable, high-level remote support while you upgrade the system software running your current servers and desktops.

With most office IT systems, 64-bit computing is a giant unexploited resource. Both Intel and AMD, the top CPU chip makers, have been incorporating 64-bit ability in their mainstream processors for years, so that all types of business computers including laptops, desktop PCs, engineering workstations and back-office servers now possess the architecture to operate in 64-bit format. Yet most of these in-place devices still run 32-bit software platforms.

The primary cause for this widespread hesitation to participate in the 64-bit revolution is that the business benefit for upgrading in-place systems has seemed to be small in comparison to the work needed. There is no automatic process to upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit OS. The enhancement demands a clean installation, which means reinstalling current programs, saving and recovering data files, and installing new 64-bit drivers. This demands thorough planning to do economically. Meanwhile, many popular desktop productivity software are currently available only in 32-bit versions, so where's the benefit?

Advantages of Upgrading to 64-bit Processing
The advantages of 64-bit vs. 32-bit computing may appear to be subtle and hard to quantify, but they are significant. The RAM memory management schemes used in 32-bit platforms are basically an engineering band-aid that limits stability. Memory-starved applications are often not allowed to access existing RAM since the operating system is unable to allocate it efficiently. This can be the cause of programs freezing or performing erratically even though a machine appears to have plenty of unused memory. Also, 64-bit operating systems support far more addressable memory than 32-bit systems and process twice as much data per clock cycle. You can also jump from one memory-hungry application to another more quickly when using a 64-bit system. Basically, 64-bit processing makes systems more stable, more scalable, and faster, which in turn makes businesses more productive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Support
Microsoft's “x64” technology supports the 64-bit CPUs found in most computers currently deployed in business networks. (Microsoft's "Itanium" platform is restricted to special high-end processors and is intended for applications that require large-scale multi-processing.) Prior to the availability of Microsoft Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft client programs such as Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were offered only in 32-bit versions, which can nevertheless be run on x64 platforms. The latest generation of Microsoft Office delivers dramatic improvements. As an example, Microsoft Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit version that allows you to create spreadsheets with huge databases that are not limited by the 2-gigabyte file size that hampers 32-bit versions of Excel.

Microsoft has developed native x64 versions of many Microsoft Server System products, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, Commerce Server 2007, BizTalk Server 2006, as well as System Center Operations Manager. Windows Server x64 versions are priced and licensed identically to their 32-bit versions, so typically it costs nothing extra for 64-bit server software or hardware.

For client computers, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price 64-bit versions that offer high dependability, scalability, and performance. Like all migrations from 32-bit to 64-bit platforms, the upgrade can’t be carried out without effort. Each workstation and server needs a clean installation that involves reinstalling application software, saving and recovering data, and configuring 64-bit device drivers. On the other hand, for most current desktop PCs, and for all PCs powered by XP, even the 64-bit edition of Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows 8 requires you to perform a clean installation. This being the case, there will never be a better opportunity to move to x64 computing on the desktop, since it will require scarcely any extra work.

How Progent Can Help Your Business to Migrate to 64-bit Processing
In addition to assisting your organization to evaluate the business advantages, costs, and technical risks attached to upgrading to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft Gold-certified engineers can help you design, document, carry out, manage, and troubleshoot a network-wide move to 64-bit server and desktop operating systems and business applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit environment to verify that it handles all of the key 32-bit programs that you want to retain as well as the latest 64-bit editions of applications you plan to install. If moving to Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your 64-bit upgrade plan, Progent's certified Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 evaluation and migration experts can help you to determine which workstation hardware and programs can or ought to be preserved, and plan a migration process that is the least disturbing to your network operations.

Additional ways Progent can help you to upgrade to x64 computing include:

  • Progent's experience delivering online computer consulting and troubleshooting can save you time and expense over the course of your 64-bit migration, and Progent's background cooperating with internal support personnel and delivering technical knowledge sharing to them can increase the efficiency of your network support team.

  • Progent's certified Cisco CCIE network consultants can make sure that your network architecture is optimized to support your x64 processing solution, that it is easy to monitor, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it provides a high degree of data protection and dependability.

  • Progent's disaster recovery consultants can help you in developing and testing a disaster recovery strategy that includes your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) support professionals can help you to deploy System Center SCDPM to provide automated online backup with the advantage of rapid data recovery.

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, GIAC, and CISA certified security experts can help you develop a company-wide security plan that deploys some of the new protection mechanisms included with x64 servers. Progent can also carry out security vulnerability checking to assess or verify your network's compliance with mandated security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization consultants can show you how to use 64-bit virtual server technology to conserve hardware resources, simplify management, enhance reliability, cut colocation costs, and reduce restoration time in the event of a catastrophic breakdown.

  • Progent's live online training classes can help get both your network management staff and your desktop employees up to date rapidly and affordably by delivering online webinars customized for your computing requirements and operational processes.
Contact Progent for Expertise in Upgrading to x64 Processing
To find out additional details about how Progent's engineers can assist your business to migrate to 64-bit computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.