Overview of 64-bit Computing
64-bit Migration HelpWith the availability of Windows 7, the business case for moving to 64-bit processing has never seemed better. Still, most IT managers are understandably hesitant to take on a sizable migration task when the primary advantages — improved stability, capacity, and performance — are excessively vague to quantify precisely. As a Microsoft Partner with years of background helping businesses to carry out system-wide migrations, Progent can help you to understand the costs and benefits of adopting 64-bit computing, create an economical upgrade strategy that minimizes productivity interruptions, and provide affordable, expert remote support while you update the system software powering your current servers and desktops.

With the majority of business networks, 64-bit processing is a great unexploited resource. Intel and AMD, the leading CPU chip manufacturers, have been delivering 64-bit capability in their commodity CPUs for years, with the result that all classes of business computers such as laptops, desktop computers, high-powered workstations and back-office servers now possess the ability to run in 64-bit mode. However the majority of these in-place devices still host 32-bit operating systems.

The primary reason for this common hesitation to join the 64-bit millennium is that the real benefit for upgrading in-place systems has appeared to be modest in relation to the work needed. There is no automatic process to migrate from a 32 to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade demands a clean installation, which calls for reinstalling existing applications, saving and recovering data, and configuring new 64-bit drivers. This demands thoughtful planning to carry out efficiently. Furthermore, most desktop applications are still offered only in 32-bit editions, so what's the advantage?

Benefits of Moving Up to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit vs. 32-bit computing may seem subtle and difficult to define precisely, but they are real. The memory partitioning techniques used in 32-bit platforms are essentially an engineering afterthought that limits stability. Memory-starved applications are often not allowed to utilize existing memory since the operating system cannot allocate it efficiently. This can be the cause of programs shutting down or executing erratically even when a machine appears to have ample unused memory. Also, 64-bit operating systems allow much more addressable RAM than 32-bit systems and crunch twice as much data per CPU cycle. You can also switch from one RAM-intensive application to another more quickly when you are running in a 64-bit system. Fundamentally, 64-bit processing makes environments more reliable, more scalable, and faster, which in turn makes companies more productive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Initiative
Microsoft's ďx64Ē technology supports the 64-bit CPUs found in most computers currently deployed in office IT environments. (Microsoft's "Itanium" software is limited to a few advanced processors and is intended for applications that need massive multi-processing.) Prior to the availability of Office 2010, most Microsoft desktop applications including 2007 Office and Visual Studio 2005 were offered solely in 32-bit versions, which can still be run on x64 Windows. The latest generation of Office offers dramatic enhancements. As an example, Excel 2010 is available in a 64-bit version that allows you to build spreadsheets with huge databases that are not restricted by the 2-gigabyte file size imposed by previous versions of Microsoft Office Excel.

Microsoft offers native x64 versions of many Microsoft Server System products, including Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server, BizTalk Server, plus System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server 64-bit versions are priced and licensed identically to 32-bit editions, so ordinarily it costs nothing extra for 64-bit server software or machines.

For workstations, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost 64-bit editions that offer high dependability, capacity, and performance. As with all migrations from 32- to 64-bit operating systems, the move up canít be done seamlessly. Each desktop PC and server requires a clean setup that involves reconfiguring application software, backing up and recovering data files, and installing 64-bit drivers. In fact, for most current workstations, and for all PCs running XP, the 32 or 64-bit edition of Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows 8 will require you to perform a "from scratch" install. Consequently, there will never be a better time to move to x64 processing on the workstation, since it will involve scarcely any extra work.

How Progent Can Help You to Upgrade to 64-bit Computing
Besides helping you to understand the practical benefits, expenses, and technical risks associated with upgrading to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you design, document, implement, administer, and repair a network-wide move to 64-bit server and desktop OS software and business applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit infrastructure to verify that it handles all of the key 32-bit programs which you intend to keep as well as the new 64-bit editions of applications you wish to install. If adopting Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your x64 upgrade strategy, Progent's certified Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 evaluation and upgrade consultants can help you to determine which desktop computers and applications can or should be preserved, and outline an upgrade process that is minimally disruptive to your business productivity.

Additional ways Progent can help you to migrate to 64-bit computing include:

  • Progent's expertise providing remote network consulting and troubleshooting can save your business time and expense over the course of your 64-bit upgrade, and Progent's experience working with internal support personnel and providing technical knowledge transfer to them can improve the efficiency of your network support staff.

  • Progent's certified Cisco CCIE network consultants can make sure that your network infrastructure is optimized to support your 64-bit computing solution, that it is easy to track, manage, and repair, and that it provides a high degree of security and reliability.

  • Progent's disaster recovery engineers can help you in creating and testing a workplace recovery plan that incorporates your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center SCDPM engineering professionals can help you to deploy System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to provide near-continuous remote backup with the advantage of fast data recovery.

  • Progent's CISM and CISA certified security engineers can help you develop a comprehensive security plan that deploys some of the powerful protection mechanisms included with x64 server platforms. Progent can also provide security vulnerability checking to evaluate or validate your network's compliance with mandated security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization engineers can help you use 64-bit virtual server solutions to save money on hardware resources, simplify administration, enhance robustness, cut colocation and hosting expenses, and speed up restoration time in case of a disaster.

  • Progent's live online instruction can help bring both your network management team and your desktop workers up to date quickly and affordably by providing interactive online webinars specialized for your computing environment and operational procedures.
Contact Progent for Support for Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
To learn more information about how Progent's engineers can assist you to migrate to x64 processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.