Overview of 64-bit Processing
The release of Microsoft Office 2010 represented a milestone in information technology. After that, all of Microsoft's most popular operating systems, application servers, and office productivity software have been available in 64-bit versions for the same price as the 32-bit editions. This includes Exchange Server, SQL Server, SharePoint, System Center Operations Manager, and other key platforms.
Meanwhile, all server, workstation, and laptop computers sold in the last few years already have the ability to run in 64-bit mode. As a Microsoft Partner with years of experience helping businesses carry out network-wide upgrades, Progent can help you understand the costs and benefits of moving to 64-bit processing, design an efficient migration strategy that minimizes operational disruptions, and provide affordable, expert remote support to assist you in upgrading your existing computers and software.
The advantages of 64-bit computing go beyond gigantic spreadsheets. Software is more stable, system performance improves, memory capacity expands, security can be more extensive, and more servers can be consolidated through virtualization. These advantages equate to more uptime, increased productivity, better data protection, and lower equipment costs. Yet for most small businesses, 64-bit computing is still a great untapped resource.
Sticking with 32-bit software and under utilizing 64-bit hardware seems to make no business sense, but in fact there are serious obstacles to migrating to 64-bit computing that have prompted companies to hold back. There is no seamless path for replacing a 32-bit operating system with a 64-bit equivalent. The upgrade requires a clean installation, which means reinstalling existing applications, backing up and restoring data, and installing new 64-bit drivers. In some cases, it can be difficult or impossible to find 64-bit drivers for older peripherals. To avoid business disruption and minimize technical risk, a 64-bit migration demands careful planning and extensive experience.
Advantages of Moving Up to 64-bit Processing
The advantages of 64-bit vs. 32-bit processing may seem subtle and difficult to define precisely, yet they are significant. The memory allocation schemes used in 32-bit systems are basically an engineering afterthought that limits stability. Memory-hungry applications are sometimes not allowed to utilize existing RAM since the O/S cannot assign it efficiently. This results in software freezing or running erratically even when a computer appears to have plenty of unused RAM. In addition, 64-bit operating systems allow much more physical RAM than 32-bit ones and process more information per clock cycle. You can also switch from one RAM-intensive program to another more quickly when running in a 64-bit system. Fundamentally, 64-bit computing makes systems more reliable, more expandable, and faster, which makes companies more competitive.
Microsoft's 64-bit Software
Microsoft's “x64” technology supports the 64-bit CPUs found in virtually all servers and desktop PCs currently deployed in office IT systems. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" initiative is limited to special high-end CPUs and is intended for environments that need massive multi-processing.) Before the availability of Microsoft Office 2010, most Microsoft client programs such as Microsoft Office 2007 and Visual Studio 2005 were offered solely in 32-bit editions, which can still be run on x64 platforms. The latest family of Office 2010 delivers dramatic improvements. For example, Microsoft Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit version that allows you to build spreadsheets with enormous datasets that are not restricted to the 2-gigabyte file size imposed by 32-bit versions of Office Excel.
Microsoft offers native x64 versions of key Microsoft Server platforms, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server, BizTalk Server 2006, as well as System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server 64-bit editions are priced identically to their 32-bit counterparts, so ordinarily it costs nothing extra for 64-bit server operating systems or machines.
For workstations, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost 64-bit versions that offer advanced stability, scalability, and throughput. Like all migrations from 32- to 64-bit platforms, the move up can’t be done without effort. Every workstation and server requires a clean installation that entails reconfiguring applications, saving and recovering data files, and installing 64-bit drivers. In fact, for most current workstations, and for all PCs powered by Windows XP, the 32 or 64-bit release of Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows 8 will require you to perform a "from scratch" installation. Consequently, there has never been a better opportunity to move to 64-bit computing on the workstation, since it will involve little additional effort.
How Progent Can Help Your Business to Migrate to 64-bit Computing
In addition to assisting you to evaluate the practical advantages, expenses, and technical risks attached to migrating to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you plan, document, carry out, manage, and troubleshoot a system-wide migration to 64-bit server and desktop operating systems and business applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit infrastructure to make sure it supports all of the important 32-bit applications that you want to retain as well as the latest 64-bit editions of applications you plan to install. If adopting Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your x64 migration strategy, Progent's Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 testing and upgrade experts can help you to decide which desktop computers and programs can or should be preserved, and outline an upgrade process that is the least disturbing to your business operations.
Other ways Progent can assist you to upgrade to 64-bit processing include:
Contact Progent for Support for Migrating to 64-bit Computing
- Progent's experience delivering remote network consulting and troubleshooting can save you time and money during your 64-bit migration, and Progent's experience cooperating with internal support personnel and providing technical knowledge sharing to them can improve the efficiency of your support team.
- Progent's Cisco CCIE network consultants can make sure that your network infrastructure is optimized to accommodate your x64 processing environment, that it is easy to track, manage, and repair, and that it offers a high degree of data protection and reliability.
- Progent's disaster recovery engineers can help you in developing and validating a business continuity strategy that includes your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center SCDPM engineering professionals can help you to configure Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to support near-continuous remote backup with the advantage of fast data restoration.
- Progent's CISM and CISA certified security consultants can assist you create a company-wide security plan that deploys some of the new protection mechanisms included with 64-bit servers. Progent can also provide security vulnerability testing to evaluate or confirm your company's adherence to industry or government security requirements.
- Progent's virtualization consultants can show you how to use 64-bit virtual server solutions to save money on hardware, streamline administration, enhance reliability, cut hosting costs, and reduce recovery time in the event of a catastrophic breakdown.
- Progent's online training classes can help get both your IT management staff and your desktop employees up to date rapidly and cost-effectively by delivering online webinars specialized for your network requirements and business procedures.
For additional information about how Progent's consultants can help you to migrate to 64-bit processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.