Preparing for 64-bit Computing
64-bit Upgrade SupportWith the availability of Microsoft Windows 7, the business justification for migrating to 64-bit processing has never been better. Still, most network managers are predictably hesitant to launch a significant migration project when the primary benefits — increased stability, scalability, and speed — are too intangible to evaluate with precision. As a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of background assisting companies to carry out system-wide migration projects, Progent can assist your company to understand the risks and benefits of adopting 64-bit processing, design an efficient migration scheme that reduces business disruptions, and provide affordable, expert remote support while you update the system software running your existing servers and desktops.

With most business networks, 64-bit computing is a giant unexploited resource. Intel and AMD, the top CPU makers, have been incorporating 64-bit ability in their commodity CPUs for years, so that all classes of business computing hardware such as laptops, desktop computers, high-powered workstations and back-office servers already possess the ability to operate in 64-bit mode. However the majority of these devices continue to run 32-bit operating systems.

The primary reason for this widespread reluctance to participate in the 64-bit revolution is that the business benefit for upgrading existing computers has seemed to be small in relation to the effort required. There is no seamless path to migrate from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade requires a clean install, which calls for reinstalling current applications, saving and restoring data files, and configuring new drivers. This requires thoughtful planning to do economically. Meanwhile, many popular desktop productivity software are still available only in 32-bit versions, so where's the advantage?

Advantages of Moving Up to 64-bit Processing
The benefits of 64-bit vs. 32-bit processing may appear to be vague and difficult to quantify, but they are real. The RAM partitioning schemes used in 32-bit operating systems are basically a technical afterthought that limits stability. RAM-starved applications are often unable to access free RAM since the O/S cannot allocate it efficiently. This can be the cause of programs freezing or performing fitfully even though a machine appears to have plenty of available RAM. Also, 64-bit software platforms allow much more physical memory than 32-bit ones and crunch more information per CPU cycle. You can also jump from one memory-hungry program to another faster when you are using a 64-bit system. Fundamentally, 64-bit processing makes systems more reliable, more expandable, and faster, which makes businesses more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Processing Support
Microsoft's “x64” software works with the 64-bit processors found in most computers now deployed in office IT systems. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" platform is limited to a few high-end processors and is designed for applications that need large-scale multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Microsoft Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft client programs including 2007 Office and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were available only in 32-bit versions, which can nevertheless be used on x64 Windows. The latest generation of Office offers dramatic improvements. For example, Office Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit version that allows you to create spreadsheets with huge datasets that are not restricted to the 2-gigabyte maximum file size that hampers previous editions of Office Excel.

Microsoft offers true x64 versions of key Microsoft Server System products, including Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and 2003, SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server 2007, Microsoft BizTalk Server, as well as System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server x64 versions are priced the same as their 32-bit editions, so typically it costs nothing more for 64-bit server operating systems or machines.

For desktop PCs, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost 64-bit versions that offer advanced stability, scalability, and performance. Like all migrations from 32- to 64-bit platforms, the move up can’t be carried out seamlessly. Every workstation and server requires a clean setup that entails reconfiguring application software, backing up and recovering data files, and configuring 64-bit drivers. On the other hand, for most current desktop PCs, and for every PC powered by Windows XP, any version of Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 will require you to carry out a clean install. This being the case, there will never be a better time to move to 64-bit processing on the desktop, since it will involve little extra effort.

How Progent Can Help Your Business to Migrate to 64-bit Computing
In addition to assisting your organization to evaluate the practical advantages, costs, and technical variables attached to migrating to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you design, document, implement, manage, and repair a system-wide migration to 64-bit server and desktop OS software and business applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit infrastructure to make sure it supports all of the important 32-bit applications that you want to retain plus the new 64-bit editions of applications you plan to install. If adopting Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your x64 upgrade strategy, Progent's Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 testing and upgrade experts can assist you to decide which desktop hardware and programs can or should be retained, and plan a migration process that is the least disruptive to your business operations.

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

  • Progent's experience providing remote computer consulting and support can save your business effort and expense during your 64-bit upgrade, and Progent's background working with internal IT staffs and providing technical information sharing to them can increase the effectiveness of your network support staff.

  • Progent's Cisco CCIE network engineers can verify that your network infrastructure is optimized to support your 64-bit computing environment, that it is easy to track, administer, and repair, and that it provides a high degree of security and robustness.

  • Progent's business continuity consultants can help you in creating and testing a workplace recovery strategy that incorporates your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center System Center Data Protection Manager consulting experts can help you to deploy System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to support automated remote backup with the advantage of rapid data recovery.

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, GIAC, and CISA security engineers can help you create a comprehensive security strategy that implements some of the powerful security mechanisms included with 64-bit servers. Progent can also provide network security vulnerability testing to assess or confirm your network's compliance with mandated security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization consultants can show you how to benefit from 64-bit virtual server technology to save money on equipment, simplify administration, enhance fault tolerance, lower colocation costs, and speed up restoration time in the event of a catastrophic breakdown.

  • Progent's online education can help bring both your IT management team and your desktop workers up to speed quickly and affordably by delivering online virtual training customized for your network environment and business processes.
Contact Progent to Get Support for Migrating to x64 Processing
To find out more information about how Progent's engineers can help you to upgrade to 64-bit processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.