Introduction to 64-bit Processing
64-bit Upgrade SupportWith the release of Microsoft Windows 7, the business justification for migrating to 64-bit processing has never seemed better. However, many IT administrators are understandably hesitant to take on a major migration task when the primary benefits — improved dependability, scalability, and performance — are excessively vague to evaluate precisely. As a Microsoft Partner with years of experience assisting businesses to carry out network-wide migrations, Progent can assist your company to assess the costs and benefits of moving to 64-bit computing, create an efficient migration strategy that minimizes productivity disruptions, and provide affordable, high-level remote consulting as you upgrade the system software powering your existing servers and desktops.

For most office IT systems, 64-bit processing is a giant unexploited power source. Both Intel and AMD, the leading CPU chip makers, have been incorporating 64-bit capability in their mainstream CPUs for years, so that all classes of business computers such as laptops, desktop computers, high-powered workstations and back-office servers already possess the architecture to run in 64-bit mode. However the majority of these computers still run 32-bit software platforms.

The primary cause for this common hesitation to join the 64-bit revolution is that the business advantage for upgrading in-place computers has appeared to be small in relation to the effort required. There is no automatic process to migrate from a 32-bit to a 64-bit OS. The upgrade requires a clean install, which means reinstalling existing programs, saving and recovering data files, and configuring new drivers. This demands thorough planning to do economically. Meanwhile, many popular desktop productivity software are still offered only in 32-bit editions, so where's the advantage?

Benefits of Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit vs. 32-bit processing may appear to be subtle and hard to quantify, but they are significant. The RAM memory management schemes utilized by 32-bit OS platforms are essentially a technical band-aid that undermines system stability. RAM-starved programs are sometimes not able to access free memory since the O/S is unable to allocate it efficiently. This results in programs shutting down or performing erratically even when a computer appears to have ample unused memory. Also, 64-bit software platforms allow far more addressable RAM than 32-bit ones and process more information per CPU cycle. You can also jump from one memory-hungry program to another more quickly when you are using a 64-bit environment. Fundamentally, 64-bit computing makes systems more reliable, more expandable, and faster, which makes businesses more productive.

Microsoft's x64 Software
Microsoft's “x64” software works with the 64-bit CPUs found in virtually all computers now deployed in office networks. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" platform is limited to special advanced Intel and AMD CPUs processors and is intended for environments that need large-scale multi-processing.) Prior to the availability of Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop programs such as 2007 Office and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were available only in 32-bit versions, which can nevertheless be run on x64 platforms. The new generation of Microsoft Office 2010 offers significant improvements. As an 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 file size that hampers previous versions of Microsoft Office Excel.

Microsoft has developed native x64 editions of key Microsoft Server platforms, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server 2007, BizTalk Server, plus System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server x64 versions are priced and licensed identically to their 32-bit editions, so typically it costs nothing more for 64-bit server software or hardware.

For workstations, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost 64-bit editions that offer high stability, capacity, and performance. As with all upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit operating systems, the upgrade can’t be done without effort. Each desktop PC and server needs a clean installation that entails reinstalling application software, saving and restoring data files, and configuring 64-bit device drivers. On the other hand, for most in-place desktop PCs, and for all PCs running XP, even the 64-bit edition of Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows 8 will require you to carry out a "from scratch" installation. Consequently, there has never been a better time to move to 64-bit processing on the workstation, since it will involve little extra effort.

How Progent Can Assist You to Migrate to 64-bit Computing
In addition to helping your organization to evaluate the practical advantages, expenses, and technical variables associated with upgrading to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you design, document, implement, administer, and troubleshoot a network-wide migration to 64-bit server and desktop OS software and business applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit environment to verify that it supports all of the important 32-bit programs which you want to keep as well as the latest 64-bit editions of applications you wish to install. If moving to Microsoft 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 planning and migration consultants can help your company to decide which desktop hardware and applications can or ought to be retained, and outline an upgrade process that is the least disruptive to your network operations.

Additional ways Progent's consultants can assist your business to upgrade to 64-bit processing include:

  • Progent's expertise providing remote network consulting and support can save your business time and money during your x64 upgrade, and Progent's background working with in-house support personnel and delivering technical knowledge transfer to them can increase the efficiency of your network support staff.

  • Progent's Cisco CCIE network consultants can verify that your network infrastructure is optimized to support your x64 processing environment, that it is easy to monitor, manage, and troubleshoot, and that it offers a high level of data protection and dependability.

  • Progent's disaster recovery consultants can assist you in developing and validating a business continuity plan that includes your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager consulting experts can help you to configure System Center SCDPM to support near-continuous online backup with the capability of fast data recovery.

  • Progent's CISSP and GIAC certified security engineers can help you create a company-wide security plan that deploys some of the powerful protection technologies included with 64-bit server platforms. Progent can also provide network security vulnerability testing to assess or verify your company's adherence to industry or government security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization engineers can help you use 64-bit virtual server solutions to leverage your hardware, streamline management, improve fault tolerance, lower colocation expenses, and reduce restoration time in case of a disaster.

  • Progent's online training classes can help get your network management team and your office employees up to date rapidly and affordably by delivering online webinars customized for your network environment and business procedures.
Contact Progent for Consulting Support for Migrating to 64-bit Processing
For more information about how Progent's engineers can assist your business to upgrade to 64-bit processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.