Introduction to 64-bit Processing
64-bit Migration HelpThanks to the release of Microsoft Windows 7, the business case for moving to 64-bit processing has never been better. However, most IT managers are predictably hesitant to take on a significant upgrade project when the main advantages — increased dependability, scalability, and performance — are excessively vague to evaluate precisely. Being a Microsoft Partner with over 20 years of background assisting companies to implement network-wide upgrades, Progent can help your company to assess the costs and benefits of adopting 64-bit processing, design an economical upgrade scheme that minimizes operational interruptions, and deliver affordable, expert remote technical support as you upgrade the system software running your existing computers.

With the majority of business IT systems, 64-bit computing is a great untapped power source. Intel and AMD, the leading CPU makers, 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 advanced servers already possess the architecture to operate in 64-bit mode. However the majority of these computers still host 32-bit operating systems.

The primary cause for this widespread reluctance to join the 64-bit millennium is that the business benefit for updating in-place computers has seemed to be modest in relation to the work needed. There is no seamless process to upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit OS. The upgrade requires a clean installation, which means reinstalling current applications, backing up and recovering data, and configuring new drivers. This requires thorough planning to do efficiently. Meanwhile, many popular office productivity software are currently offered only in 32-bit versions, so what's the benefit?

Benefits of Moving Up to 64-bit Processing
The benefits of 64-bit vs. 32-bit computing may appear to be subtle and difficult to define precisely, but they are significant. The memory partitioning techniques utilized by 32-bit OS platforms are essentially a technical band-aid that limits stability. RAM-starved applications are often not able to utilize available RAM because the operating system cannot assign it efficiently. This can be the cause of software shutting down or running fitfully even though a computer seems to have ample unused RAM. Also, 64-bit operating systems allow much more physical memory than 32-bit ones and crunch twice as much data per CPU cycle. You can also jump from one memory-intensive application to another more quickly when you are running in a 64-bit system. Basically, 64-bit processing makes environments more stable, more expandable, and faster, which makes businesses more competitive.

Microsoft's x64 Initiative
Microsoft's “x64” software supports the 64-bit CPUs found in most computers now installed in business IT systems. (Microsoft's "Itanium" technology is restricted to special advanced Intel and AMD CPUs processors and is designed for environments that need massive multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop applications such as Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were available solely in 32-bit versions, which can nevertheless be used on x64 platforms. The latest family of Office 2010 offers dramatic enhancements. As an example, Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit edition that permits you to build spreadsheets with enormous databases that are not restricted by the 2-Gbyte maximum file size that hampers 32-bit releases of Excel.

Microsoft has developed native x64 editions of many Microsoft Server System products, including Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Exchange Server 2007, Commerce Server 2007, BizTalk Server, as well as System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server 64-bit editions are priced and licensed identically to 32-bit editions, so typically you pay nothing extra for 64-bit server operating systems or machines.

For workstations, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost 64-bit versions that provide high dependability, capacity, and performance. As with all upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit operating systems, the move up can't be done seamlessly. Each desktop PC and server requires a clean installation that involves reconfiguring application software, backing up and restoring data files, and installing 64-bit drivers. On the other hand, for most in-place desktop PCs, and for all PCs running Windows XP, the 32 or 64-bit edition of Windows 7 or 8 requires you to carry out a clean installation. Consequently, there will never be a better opportunity to move to x64 processing on the desktop, since it will involve scarcely any extra work.

How Progent Can Help Your Business to Upgrade to 64-bit Processing
In addition to helping you to understand the practical benefits, expenses, and technical risks associated with upgrading to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you design, document, implement, administer, and troubleshoot a network-wide move to 64-bit server and desktop operating systems and business applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit environment to make sure it supports all of the important 32-bit applications which you intend to keep as well as the new 64-bit editions of software you wish to install. If moving to Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your x64 upgrade strategy, Progent's certified Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 evaluation and upgrade experts can help your company to decide which desktop computers and applications can or should be preserved, and design an upgrade process that is the least disturbing to your network productivity.

Other ways Progent can help you to upgrade to x64 computing include:

  • Progent's expertise delivering online network consulting and troubleshooting can save your business effort and expense during your x64 migration, and Progent's experience working with internal support personnel and delivering technical knowledge sharing to them can increase the effectiveness of your support team.

  • Progent's Cisco CCIE network engineers can make sure that your network infrastructure is optimized to support your 64-bit computing solution, that it is simple to monitor, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it provides a high level of data protection and dependability.

  • Progent's business continuity consultants can help you in creating and validating a disaster recovery strategy that includes your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center SCDPM engineering experts can help you to configure System Center SCDPM to support near-continuous online backup with the advantage of fast system recovery.

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, GIAC, and CISA network security experts can help you create a company-wide security strategy that deploys some of the powerful protection mechanisms included with x64 servers. Progent can also provide network security vulnerability testing to evaluate or verify your company's compliance with mandated security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization engineers can show you how to utilize 64-bit virtual server solutions to conserve equipment, streamline management, improve dependability, cut colocation expenses, and reduce restoration time in the event of a disaster.

  • Progent's online education can help get both your IT management staff and your office workers up to date quickly and cost-effectively by providing online virtual training customized for your computing requirements and operational procedures.
Contact Progent for Consulting Support for Migrating to 64-bit Computing
For more details about how Progent's consultants can assist your business to upgrade to x64 processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.