Preparing for 64-bit Computing
64-bit Upgrade HelpWith the availability of Microsoft Windows 7, the business justification for migrating to 64-bit computing has never seemed stronger. However, many network administrators are predictably hesitant to take on a sizable migration project when the main advantages — increased dependability, scalability, and speed — are excessively intangible to evaluate with precision. As a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of experience assisting businesses to carry out network-wide upgrades, Progent can help you to understand the risks and benefits of adopting 64-bit processing, create an efficient migration scheme that reduces operational interruptions, and provide cost-effective, expert online engineering help while you upgrade the software running your existing computers.

For most office IT systems, 64-bit computing is a great unexploited power source. Intel and AMD, the leading CPU chip manufacturers, have been incorporating 64-bit capability in their mainstream CPUs for years, so that all types of business computers such as notebooks, desktop computers, high-powered workstations and back-office servers already have the ability to operate in 64-bit mode. However the majority of these in-place computers continue to host 32-bit operating systems and applications.

The primary cause for this widespread reluctance to join the 64-bit millennium is that the real advantage for updating existing systems has seemed to be modest in relation to the work required. There is no automatic path to upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system. The enhancement requires a clean installation, which means reinstalling existing programs, backing up and restoring data files, and installing new drivers. This requires thoughtful planning to carry out economically. Furthermore, many popular office applications are still available only in 32-bit versions, so what's the benefit?

Benefits of Upgrading to 64-bit Processing
The benefits of 64-bit vs. 32-bit processing may seem vague and difficult to quantify, yet they are significant. The RAM allocation techniques utilized by 32-bit OS platforms are essentially an engineering band-aid that undermines stability. RAM-starved applications are sometimes unable to access free RAM because the operating system cannot assign it efficiently. This results in programs freezing or performing erratically even though a computer seems to have ample unused RAM. Also, 64-bit operating systems allow far more addressable memory than 32-bit systems and process twice as much data per CPU cycle. You can also go from one RAM-intensive application to another faster when running in a 64-bit system. Basically, 64-bit computing makes environments more reliable, more scalable, and more efficient, which in turn makes businesses more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Software
Microsoft's “x64” software supports the 64-bit CPUs found in virtually all servers and desktop PCs currently deployed in business IT environments. (Microsoft's "Itanium" initiative is restricted to a few advanced Intel and AMD CPUs processors and is designed for applications that need large-scale multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Microsoft Office 2010, most Microsoft desktop programs including 2007 Office and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were offered solely in 32-bit versions, which can still be used on x64 Windows. The new generation of Microsoft Office delivers dramatic improvements. For example, Microsoft 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 maximum file size imposed by 32-bit versions of Office Excel.

Microsoft has developed true x64 editions of key Microsoft Server System products, including Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server, BizTalk Server 2006, plus Operations Manager. Windows Server x64 editions are priced and licensed identically to their 32-bit editions, so in most circumstances you pay nothing more for 64-bit server operating systems or hardware.

For workstations, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost 64-bit versions that provide advanced stability, capacity, and throughput. As with all upgrades from 32- to 64-bit operating systems, the move up can’t be done seamlessly. Every desktop PC and server needs a clean installation that entails reinstalling applications, backing up and restoring data files, and installing 64-bit device drivers. On the other hand, for most in-place workstations, and for all PCs running Windows XP, even the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 will require you to perform a clean installation. This being the case, there will never be a better opportunity to upgrade to 64-bit processing on the workstation, since it will require scarcely any extra work.

How Progent Can Help You to Migrate to 64-bit Processing
In addition to assisting your organization to understand the practical benefits, costs, and technical risks attached to upgrading to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you design, document, implement, manage, and repair a network-wide move to 64-bit server and desktop OS software and business applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit infrastructure to make sure it handles all of the important 32-bit applications that you intend to retain plus the latest 64-bit editions of applications you plan to run. If moving to Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your 64-bit migration plan, Progent's Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 testing and migration experts can help you to determine which desktop hardware and programs can or ought to be preserved, and outline a migration process that is the least disturbing to your network productivity.

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

  • Progent's experience delivering remote computer consulting and support can save your business effort and expense during your x64 upgrade, and Progent's background working with in-house IT personnel and delivering technical information sharing to them can improve the efficiency of your support team.

  • Progent's Cisco CCIE network engineers can make sure that your network architecture is configured to accommodate your x64 processing solution, that it is simple to monitor, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it offers a high degree of security and dependability.

  • Progent's disaster recovery consultants can help you in creating and testing a workplace recovery plan that includes your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center SCDPM consulting experts can help you to configure System Center SCDPM to support automated online backup with the advantage of rapid data recovery.

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, and GIAC security engineers can help you create a comprehensive security plan that deploys some of the new security mechanisms included with 64-bit servers. Progent can also provide network security vulnerability checking to assess or confirm your company's compliance with mandated security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization consultants can help you utilize 64-bit virtual server technology to conserve equipment, streamline management, enhance robustness, cut colocation costs, and reduce restoration time in case of a disaster.

  • Progent's online instruction can help get your network management staff and your desktop employees up to date rapidly and cost-effectively by providing remote webinars specialized for your computing environment and business processes.
Contact Progent to Get Help Upgrading to x64 Processing
To learn additional information about how Progent's consultants can help your business to migrate to 64-bit processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.