Introduction to 64-bit Computing
64-bit Upgrade SupportWith the release of Windows 7, the business case for migrating to 64-bit computing has never seemed more compelling. Still, many IT managers are understandably reluctant to launch a significant migration task when the primary advantages — increased stability, scalability, and speed — are too vague to evaluate precisely. Being a Microsoft Partner with years of experience assisting companies to implement network-wide upgrade projects, Progent can assist you to understand the risks and rewards of adopting 64-bit processing, create an efficient upgrade scheme that minimizes operational disruptions, and deliver cost-effective, expert remote technical support as you update the system software running your current servers and desktops.

For the majority of business networks, 64-bit computing is a great untapped resource. Both Intel and AMD, the top CPU chip manufacturers, have been delivering 64-bit ability in their commodity processors for years, with the result that all classes of business computing hardware such as notebooks, desktop PCs, high-powered workstations and back-office servers already have the ability to operate in 64-bit mode. Yet most of these in-place computers continue to run 32-bit operating systems.

The primary reason for this widespread hesitation to join the 64-bit revolution is that the business benefit for upgrading existing systems has appeared to be small in comparison to the effort needed. There is no automatic path to upgrade from a 32 to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade demands a clean installation, which calls for reinstalling current programs, backing up and recovering data, and configuring new drivers. This requires thorough planning to carry out economically. Furthermore, many popular desktop applications are still offered only in 32-bit versions, so where's the advantage?

Advantages of Moving Up to 64-bit Processing
The advantages of 64-bit vs. 32-bit computing may appear to be vague and hard to quantify, yet they are significant. The memory management techniques utilized by 32-bit systems are essentially a technical band-aid that limits stability. Memory-hungry programs are sometimes not able to access free memory because the O/S cannot assign it efficiently. This results in software shutting down or running fitfully even though a computer appears to have ample unused RAM. Also, 64-bit operating systems allow much more addressable RAM than 32-bit systems and crunch more information per CPU cycle. You can also jump from one memory-intensive application to another faster when you are using a 64-bit system. Basically, 64-bit computing makes systems more reliable, more scalable, and more efficient, which in turn makes businesses more productive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Processing Support
Microsoft's “x64” software supports the 64-bit processors found in virtually all servers and desktop PCs now deployed in business networks. (Microsoft's "Itanium" software is limited to special high-end Intel/AMD CPUs and is designed for applications that need massive multi-processing.) Before the release of Microsoft Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft client programs such as Microsoft Office 2007 and Visual Studio 2005 were available solely in 32-bit versions, which can still be used on x64 platforms. The latest generation of Office delivers dramatic enhancements. For example, Excel 2010 is available in a 64-bit edition that allows you to build spreadsheets with huge datasets that are not restricted by the 2-Gbyte maximum file size imposed by previous editions of Microsoft Office Excel.

Microsoft has developed true x64 editions of many Microsoft Server System products, including Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server, BizTalk Server, plus System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server 64-bit editions are priced identically to 32-bit versions, so ordinarily you pay nothing extra 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, scalability, and throughput. As with all upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit platforms, the move up can’t be carried out seamlessly. Every desktop PC and server needs a clean setup that entails reinstalling applications, backing up and recovering data files, and configuring 64-bit drivers. On the other hand, for most in-place workstations, and for every PC running Windows XP, any release of Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 requires you to perform a "from scratch" installation. Consequently, there has never been a better opportunity to upgrade to x64 computing on the desktop, since it will involve little extra work.

How Progent Can Assist Your Business to Migrate to 64-bit Computing
Besides assisting you to understand the business advantages, expenses, and technical variables associated with migrating to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you plan, document, carry out, administer, and troubleshoot a network-wide migration to 64-bit server and client OS software and applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit environment to verify that it handles all of the key 32-bit programs that you intend to retain as well as the new 64-bit editions of software you plan to install. If moving to 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 migration consultants, and Windows 10 planning and migration experts can help you to determine which desktop computers and programs can or should be preserved, and design an upgrade process that is minimally disturbing to your business operations.

Additional ways Progent's consultants can assist you to migrate to x64 processing include:

  • Progent's experience providing remote computer consulting and support can save your business effort and expense over the course of your x64 migration, and Progent's background cooperating with in-house support personnel and providing technical knowledge transfer to them can improve the efficiency of your network support team.

  • Progent's Cisco CCIE network engineers can make sure that your network infrastructure is optimized to support your 64-bit processing solution, that it is easy to monitor, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it offers a high level of security and fault tolerance.

  • Progent's business continuity engineers can assist you in creating and validating a workplace recovery plan that incorporates your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center System Center Data Protection Manager consulting experts can assist you to configure System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to support automated remote backup with the capability of rapid data restoration.

  • Progent's CISM and CISA certified network security experts can help you create a company-wide security strategy that implements some of the powerful protection mechanisms incorporated into x64 servers. Progent can also provide network security vulnerability checking to assess or validate your network's adherence to mandated security standards.

  • Progent's virtualization consultants can help you utilize 64-bit virtual server solutions to save money on hardware, streamline administration, enhance reliability, lower hosting costs, and reduce recovery time in case of a disaster.

  • Progent's live online education can help bring both your network support staff and your office workers up to date rapidly and cost-effectively by providing interactive online webinars customized for your computing environment and operational processes.
Contact Progent for Support for Migrating to x64 Processing
To find out more details about how Progent's engineers can assist you to upgrade to x64 computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.