Preparing for 64-bit Processing
With the availability of Microsoft Windows 7, the business case for upgrading to 64-bit processing has never seemed stronger. Still, most network managers are predictably hesitant to launch a major upgrade project when the primary advantages — improved dependability, capacity, and performance — are too vague to quantify with precision. As a Microsoft Partner with years of experience assisting companies to implement system-wide upgrades, Progent can help you to understand the costs and benefits of adopting 64-bit processing, create an efficient migration strategy that minimizes operational disruptions, and provide cost-effective, expert remote support while you upgrade the software powering your existing computers.
With most business networks, 64-bit computing is a great unexploited resource. Intel and AMD, the top CPU chip makers, have been delivering 64-bit capability in their mainstream CPUs for years, with the result that all classes of business computing hardware including notebooks, desktop computers, engineering workstations and back-office servers now have the ability to operate in 64-bit format. However most of these computers still run 32-bit software platforms.
The primary reason for this common hesitation to participate in the 64-bit millennium is that the real advantage for upgrading existing systems has appeared to be small in relation to the effort needed. There is no seamless path to upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system. The enhancement requires a clean install, which means reinstalling current applications, saving and restoring data, and configuring new 64-bit drivers. This demands thorough planning to do economically. Meanwhile, many popular office productivity software are still offered only in 32-bit editions, so where's the advantage?
Benefits of Moving Up to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit over 32-bit processing may appear to be vague and hard to quantify, yet they are real. The RAM allocation schemes used in 32-bit operating systems are essentially a technical afterthought that undermines system stability. RAM-hungry programs are sometimes not able to access available RAM since the O/S is unable to allocate it effectively. This results in programs freezing or executing erratically even though a machine seems to have plenty of available RAM. In addition, 64-bit software platforms allow far more addressable RAM than 32-bit ones and process twice as much information per clock cycle. You can also jump from one memory-hungry application to another more quickly while using a 64-bit environment. Basically, 64-bit computing makes systems more stable, more expandable, and faster, which in turn makes businesses more competitive.
Microsoft's x64 Initiative
Microsoft's “x64” software works with the 64-bit processors found in most servers and desktop PCs now deployed in office IT systems. (Microsoft's "Itanium" support is restricted to special high-end processors and is intended for environments that need massive multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop applications including 2007 Office and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were available only in 32-bit versions, which can nevertheless be run on x64 Windows. The latest generation of Microsoft Office offers significant enhancements. For example, Microsoft Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit version that allows you to create spreadsheets with huge datasets that are not limited by the 2-gigabyte file size that hampers 32-bit versions of Office Excel.
Microsoft has developed true x64 editions of many Microsoft Server System products, such as Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Commerce Server 2007, BizTalk Server, as well as System Center Operations Manager. Windows Server x64 editions are priced and licensed identically to their 32-bit versions, so typically it costs nothing more for 64-bit server software or machines.
For workstations, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost x64 versions that offer high dependability, capacity, and performance. Like all upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit platforms, the move up can’t be carried out without effort. Every desktop PC and server needs a clean setup that entails reconfiguring applications, backing up and restoring data, and installing 64-bit drivers. On the other hand, for most in-place desktop PCs, and for every PC running Windows XP, any release of Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 will require you to perform a "from scratch" installation. This being the case, there has never been a better time to move to 64-bit computing on the desktop, since it will require little extra effort.
How Progent Can Help You to Migrate to 64-bit Processing
Besides assisting you to evaluate the practical benefits, costs, and technical risks associated with migrating to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you design, document, carry out, manage, and troubleshoot a system-wide move to 64-bit server and client operating systems and business applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit infrastructure to verify that it supports all of the important 32-bit applications which you want to keep as well as the new 64-bit versions of applications you wish to run. If adopting Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your 64-bit upgrade strategy, Progent's certified Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 planning and migration experts can assist you to determine which workstation computers and applications can or should be retained, and outline a migration procedure that is minimally disruptive to your network productivity.
Other ways Progent can help your business to migrate to 64-bit processing include:
Contact Progent to Get Help Migrating to x64 Processing
- Progent's experience providing online network consulting and support can save you effort and expense over the course of your x64 upgrade, and Progent's experience working with internal IT personnel and delivering technical knowledge transfer to them can improve the effectiveness of your support staff.
- Progent's Cisco CCIE network engineers can make sure that your network architecture is configured to support your x64 computing environment, that it is easy to track, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it offers a high degree of data protection and robustness.
- Progent's disaster recovery consulting professionals can help you in developing and validating a disaster recovery plan that includes your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager engineering professionals can assist you to deploy Microsoft System Center SCDPM to provide automated online backup with the advantage of fast data recovery.
- Progent's CISM, CISSP, and GIAC security consultants can help you create a company-wide security strategy that deploys some of the new protection technologies included with 64-bit servers. Progent can also carry out security vulnerability testing to evaluate or confirm your network's compliance with industry or government security requirements.
- Progent's virtualization engineers can help you utilize 64-bit virtual server solutions to save money on hardware resources, simplify management, improve reliability, cut colocation and hosting costs, and reduce restoration time in the event of a catastrophic breakdown.
- Progent's online education can help bring your network support staff and your office employees up to date rapidly and affordably by delivering remote virtual training customized for your network requirements and business procedures.
For additional details about how Progent's engineers can help your business to upgrade to x64 computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.