Preparing for 64-bit Computing
64-bit Upgrade HelpWith the availability of Windows 7, the business justification for moving to 64-bit processing has never been better. Still, most IT administrators are predictably hesitant to take on a significant migration task when the main benefits — improved stability, scalability, and speed — are excessively intangible to quantify with precision. Being a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of background assisting businesses to carry out system-wide upgrades, Progent can assist your company to assess the risks and benefits of adopting 64-bit processing, design an economical upgrade scheme that minimizes productivity disruptions, and provide cost-effective, high-level online support as you update the software powering your current servers and desktops.

For the majority of office networks, 64-bit processing is a giant unexploited power source. Both Intel and AMD, the top CPU chip manufacturers, have been incorporating 64-bit ability in their commodity CPUs for years, so that all classes of business computing hardware such as laptops, desktop computers, engineering workstations and back-office servers already possess the architecture to run in 64-bit format. Yet most of these in-place devices still host 32-bit software platforms.

The primary cause for this widespread hesitation to participate in the 64-bit revolution is that the business advantage for updating existing computers has seemed to be small in relation to the work needed. There is no seamless process to migrate from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade requires a clean installation, which means reinstalling current programs, saving and restoring data, and installing new drivers. This requires thorough planning to do economically. Meanwhile, many popular desktop productivity software are currently offered only in 32-bit versions, so what's the benefit?

Advantages of Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit vs. 32-bit processing may appear to be subtle and difficult to define precisely, yet they are significant. The RAM management schemes used in 32-bit platforms are basically an engineering band-aid that undermines stability. Memory-starved programs are sometimes not allowed to utilize available memory since the O/S cannot assign it efficiently. This results in programs shutting down or executing fitfully even when a computer seems to have plenty of unused RAM. Also, 64-bit software platforms support much more physical memory than 32-bit systems and crunch twice as much information per CPU cycle. You can also jump from one RAM-hungry program to another faster while using a 64-bit environment. Basically, 64-bit processing makes systems more reliable, more expandable, and more efficient, which in turn makes companies more productive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Software
Microsoft's “x64” software supports the 64-bit processors used in virtually all computers currently deployed in office IT systems. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" software is restricted to a few high-end processors and is designed for applications that need large-scale multi-processing.) Prior to the availability of Office 2010, most Microsoft desktop applications such as 2007 Office and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were available solely in 32-bit editions, which can nevertheless be used on x64 Windows. The new generation of Microsoft Office delivers significant enhancements. For example, Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit edition that allows you to create spreadsheets with huge databases that are not restricted by the 2-Gbyte file size that hampers 32-bit releases of Office Excel.

Microsoft has developed native x64 editions of many Microsoft Server platforms, such as Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server 2007, Microsoft BizTalk Server, as well as System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server x64 editions are priced the same as 32-bit editions, so ordinarily it costs nothing more for 64-bit server operating systems or machines.

For desktop PCs, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost x64 versions that offer high dependability, scalability, and performance. Like all upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit platforms, the move up can’t be done without effort. Every desktop PC and server requires a clean installation that entails reconfiguring application software, saving and recovering data files, and installing 64-bit device drivers. In fact, for typical current workstations, and for all PCs running Microsoft Windows XP, even the 64-bit release of Windows 7 or Windows 8 will require you to carry out a clean install. Consequently, there will never be a better time to migrate to x64 processing on the desktop, since it will involve little extra effort.

How Progent Can Assist You to Migrate to 64-bit Processing
Besides helping your organization to evaluate the business benefits, costs, and technical risks associated with migrating to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you plan, document, implement, manage, and troubleshoot a network-wide migration to 64-bit server and client operating systems and business applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit environment to verify that it handles all of the important 32-bit applications which you intend to keep plus the latest 64-bit versions of software you plan to run. If adopting Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your 64-bit migration strategy, Progent's Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 testing and migration experts can help you to decide which workstation hardware and programs can or ought to be preserved, and design an upgrade process that is the least disruptive to your network productivity.

Additional ways Progent's consultants can assist your business to migrate to x64 computing include:

  • Progent's experience providing online computer consulting and support can save your business effort and money during your 64-bit upgrade, and Progent's experience cooperating with in-house IT personnel and delivering technical knowledge transfer to them can increase the efficiency of your network support staff.

  • Progent's certified Cisco CCIE network engineers can make sure that your network architecture is configured to accommodate your x64 processing environment, that it is easy to track, manage, and repair, and that it offers a high degree of security and dependability.

  • Progent's business continuity consulting professionals can help you in creating and validating a disaster recovery strategy that incorporates your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager engineering experts can help you to deploy Microsoft System Center SCDPM to provide near-continuous online backup with the capability of rapid data recovery.

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, and GIAC certified security consultants can help you create a company-wide security strategy that deploys some of the new security technologies included with 64-bit server platforms. Progent can also carry out network security vulnerability checking to assess or confirm your company's compliance with mandated security standards.

  • Progent's virtualization engineers can show you how to utilize 64-bit virtual server technology to conserve equipment, simplify administration, improve dependability, lower colocation costs, and reduce restoration time in the event of a disaster.

  • Progent's online instruction can help bring both your IT support staff and your desktop employees up to date quickly and affordably by delivering online webinars specialized for your computing requirements and operational processes.
Contact Progent for Help Upgrading to x64 Processing
For additional details about how Progent's consultants can help your business to migrate to x64 processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.