Preparing for 64-bit Processing
64-bit Upgrade SupportThanks to the release of Microsoft Windows 7, the business justification for upgrading to 64-bit computing has never seemed stronger. Still, many network administrators are predictably reluctant to launch a sizable upgrade project when the primary benefits — increased dependability, capacity, and speed — are too vague to evaluate precisely. As a Microsoft Partner with over two decades of experience helping businesses to implement network-wide upgrade projects, Progent can assist you to understand the risks and rewards of adopting 64-bit computing, create an efficient migration strategy that reduces business disruptions, and deliver affordable, high-level online support and troubleshooting while you update the software powering your existing servers and desktops.

With most office IT systems, 64-bit computing is a great untapped power source. Both Intel and AMD, the leading CPU makers, have been delivering 64-bit ability in their mainstream CPUs for years, so that all classes of business computing hardware including notebooks, desktop PCs, high-powered workstations and back-office servers now have the ability to operate in 64-bit format. However most of these in-place computers still host 32-bit operating systems.

The primary cause for this widespread hesitation to participate in the 64-bit revolution is that the business benefit for upgrading in-place computers has appeared to be small in comparison to the effort needed. There is no seamless process to upgrade from a 32 to a 64-bit OS. The enhancement requires a clean installation, which calls for reinstalling current programs, saving and recovering data, and configuring new drivers. This demands thoughtful planning to do economically. Furthermore, most desktop productivity software are currently offered only in 32-bit editions, so where's the benefit?

Benefits of Moving Up to 64-bit Processing
The benefits of 64-bit vs. 32-bit computing may appear to be vague and hard to quantify, yet they are real. The RAM partitioning schemes utilized by 32-bit systems are essentially an engineering band-aid that limits stability. RAM-hungry programs are sometimes unable to utilize available RAM because the O/S cannot allocate it effectively. This can be the cause of programs shutting down or running fitfully even when a computer seems to have plenty of unused RAM. In addition, 64-bit software platforms support far more addressable memory than 32-bit ones and crunch more data per CPU cycle. You can also go from one RAM-hungry application to another more quickly while running in a 64-bit system. Basically, 64-bit processing makes systems more reliable, more expandable, and more efficient, which makes businesses more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Support
Microsoft's “x64” software works with the 64-bit processors used in virtually all computers now installed in business IT environments. (Microsoft's "Itanium" support is restricted to special advanced Intel and AMD CPUs processors and is intended for applications that need massive multi-processing.) Prior to the availability of Office 2010, most Microsoft desktop programs such as 2007 Office and Visual Studio 2005 were offered only in 32-bit editions, which can still be used on x64 Windows. The new generation of Microsoft Office 2010 offers significant enhancements. As an example, Microsoft Excel 2010 is available in a 64-bit version that permits you to create spreadsheets with huge databases that are not restricted by the 2-Gbyte maximum file size imposed by previous releases of Microsoft Office Excel.

Microsoft offers true x64 versions of key Microsoft Server platforms, including Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server, BizTalk Server, plus Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server 64-bit versions are priced and licensed the same as their 32-bit versions, so ordinarily you pay nothing more for 64-bit server software or machines.

For workstations, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost x64 editions that provide advanced dependability, capacity, and performance. Like all migrations from 32-bit to 64-bit platforms, the move up can't be carried out seamlessly. Each workstation and server requires a clean installation that entails reconfiguring application software, saving and recovering data, and configuring 64-bit device drivers. On the other hand, for typical current desktop PCs, and for every PC powered by Microsoft Windows XP, the 32 or 64-bit edition of Windows 7 or 8 will require you to perform a "from scratch" install. Consequently, there will never be a better time to upgrade to 64-bit processing on the desktop, since it will involve little extra effort.

How Progent Can Assist You to Migrate to 64-bit Processing
In addition to helping your organization to evaluate the practical advantages, costs, and technical variables associated with migrating to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you plan, document, implement, administer, and troubleshoot a system-wide move to 64-bit server and client operating systems and business applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit infrastructure to make sure it handles all of the key 32-bit applications which you want to keep as well as the new 64-bit versions of software you plan to run. If adopting Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your x64 upgrade plan, Progent's certified Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 planning and migration experts can help your company to determine which workstation hardware and applications can or should be retained, and plan a migration process that is minimally disruptive to your business productivity.

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

  • Progent's experience providing online computer consulting and support can save your business time and expense during your 64-bit migration, and Progent's background working with internal IT personnel and delivering technical information transfer to them can improve the effectiveness of your network support staff.

  • Progent's Cisco CCIE network engineers can verify that your network infrastructure is optimized to accommodate your 64-bit computing solution, that it is simple to track, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it offers a high degree of security and fault tolerance.

  • Progent's business continuity engineers can help you in developing and testing a business continuity plan that includes your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager consulting professionals can assist you to deploy Microsoft System Center SCDPM to provide near-continuous remote backup with the advantage of fast data recovery.

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, and GIAC certified network security specialists can help you create a comprehensive security plan that deploys some of the powerful protection mechanisms included with x64 server platforms. Progent can also perform security vulnerability checking to assess or verify your company's adherence to mandated security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization experts can show you how to use 64-bit virtual server technology to conserve hardware resources, simplify management, improve dependability, lower hosting costs, and speed up recovery time in case of a catastrophic breakdown.

  • Progent's live online education can help get both your IT support staff and your desktop employees up to date quickly and cost-effectively by delivering online virtual training customized for your computing environment and operational procedures.
Contact Progent to Get Help Upgrading to x64 Processing
For more information about how Progent's consultants can assist you to upgrade to x64 computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.