Introduction to 64-bit Processing
64-bit Migration HelpWith the release of Windows 7, the business case for upgrading to 64-bit processing has never been better. However, most network administrators are predictably reluctant to launch a sizable migration project when the primary advantages — increased stability, scalability, and speed — are too vague to quantify precisely. Being a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of background assisting companies to carry out system-wide migration projects, Progent can help you to understand the risks and benefits of adopting 64-bit computing, design an economical upgrade strategy that reduces business interruptions, and provide cost-effective, high-level remote engineering help while you update the software powering your current servers and desktops.

With the majority of business networks, 64-bit processing is a great unexploited resource. Intel and AMD, the leading CPU chip manufacturers, have been incorporating 64-bit capability in their mainstream CPUs for years, so that all classes of business computing hardware including laptops, desktop PCs, engineering workstations and back-office servers now possess the architecture to run in 64-bit mode. Yet most of these devices continue to run 32-bit operating systems.

The primary reason for this widespread reluctance to join the 64-bit revolution is that the real advantage for upgrading existing computers has seemed to be modest in relation to the effort needed. There is no seamless process to upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit OS. The upgrade demands a clean installation, which means reinstalling existing programs, backing up and restoring data files, and configuring new 64-bit drivers. This demands thoughtful planning to carry out economically. Meanwhile, most office productivity software are still available only in 32-bit versions, so what's the benefit?

Benefits of Moving Up to 64-bit Processing
The advantages of 64-bit over 32-bit computing may seem subtle and hard to define precisely, yet they are significant. The RAM management techniques used in 32-bit OS platforms are basically a technical band-aid that undermines stability. Memory-hungry programs are sometimes not able to access free RAM because the operating system cannot assign it efficiently. This results in programs shutting down or executing erratically even when a machine seems to have ample available memory. In addition, 64-bit operating systems support far more addressable memory than 32-bit systems and process more data per clock cycle. You can also jump from one RAM-hungry program to another faster when you are using a 64-bit system. Fundamentally, 64-bit computing makes environments more reliable, more expandable, and more efficient, which makes businesses more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Initiative
Microsoft's “x64” software works with the 64-bit processors used in virtually all servers and desktop PCs currently deployed in office IT systems. (Microsoft's "Itanium" initiative is restricted to special advanced Intel/AMD CPUs and is intended for applications that need massive multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop programs including 2007 Office and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were offered solely in 32-bit versions, which can nevertheless be run on x64 platforms. The latest family of Office delivers dramatic improvements. For example, Microsoft Office Excel 2010 is available in a 64-bit version that allows you to build spreadsheets with enormous datasets that are not limited to the 2-gigabyte maximum file size that hampers 32-bit editions of Microsoft Office Excel.

Microsoft offers true x64 versions of many Microsoft Server platforms, including Windows Server 2008 and 2003, SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server 2007, Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006, as well as System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server x64 editions are priced identically to 32-bit versions, so typically you pay nothing extra for 64-bit server software or hardware.

For client computers, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price x64 versions that provide high stability, capacity, and performance. As with all migrations from 32-bit to 64-bit platforms, the upgrade can’t be carried out without effort. Every desktop PC and server needs a clean setup that involves reconfiguring applications, saving and recovering data, and installing 64-bit drivers. On the other hand, for most current desktop PCs, and for all PCs running XP, the 32 or 64-bit release of Windows 7 or 8 requires you to carry out a clean install. This being the case, there will never be a better time to migrate to x64 computing on the desktop, since it will involve little extra 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 upgrading to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you design, document, implement, administer, and repair a network-wide move to 64-bit server and client OS software and business applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit environment to verify that it handles all of the key 32-bit programs that you intend to retain plus the new 64-bit versions of software you wish to install. If adopting Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your x64 upgrade strategy, Progent's Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 planning and upgrade consultants can assist your company to decide which desktop hardware and applications can or should be retained, and design a migration procedure that is minimally disruptive to your business productivity.

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

  • Progent's experience delivering online network consulting and troubleshooting can save your business effort and expense during your 64-bit migration, and Progent's background working with internal support personnel and providing technical knowledge transfer to them can increase the efficiency of your network support staff.

  • Progent's certified Cisco CCIE network engineers can verify that your network infrastructure is optimized to accommodate your 64-bit computing solution, that it is easy to monitor, manage, and troubleshoot, and that it provides a high level of data protection and fault tolerance.

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

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, GIAC, and CISA security experts can assist you create a comprehensive security plan that deploys some of the new security mechanisms incorporated into x64 servers. Progent can also perform network security vulnerability testing to assess or verify your company'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, simplify administration, improve dependability, cut colocation and hosting expenses, and speed up restoration time in the event of a disaster.

  • Progent's live online training classes can help get both your IT support team and your desktop workers up to date quickly and cost-effectively by delivering remote virtual training specialized for your computing environment and business processes.
Contact Progent for Help Upgrading to x64 Computing
To find out more information about how Progent can assist your business to upgrade to 64-bit processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.