Preparing for 64-bit Processing
64-bit Upgrade SupportWith the availability of Windows 7, the business case for upgrading to 64-bit computing has never seemed more compelling. However, many IT managers are predictably hesitant to take on a sizable upgrade project when the main advantages — improved stability, capacity, and speed — are too intangible to quantify precisely. Being a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of experience helping companies to implement system-wide upgrades, Progent can help you to assess the risks and rewards of adopting 64-bit processing, design an economical upgrade scheme that minimizes business disruptions, and provide cost-effective, expert remote technical support while you upgrade the software running your current computers.

For the majority of office networks, 64-bit processing is a giant untapped resource. Both Intel and AMD, the leading CPU makers, have been incorporating 64-bit ability in their commodity processors for years, so that all types of business computers including laptops, desktop PCs, engineering workstations and advanced servers now have the ability to run in 64-bit mode. However the majority of these in-place devices still run 32-bit operating systems and applications.

The main cause for this common reluctance to join the 64-bit millennium is that the real benefit for updating existing systems has seemed to be small in comparison to the work needed. There is no seamless process to upgrade from a 32 to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade requires a clean installation, which means reinstalling existing programs, backing up and recovering data, and configuring new drivers. This requires careful planning to do efficiently. Meanwhile, many popular office applications are still available only in 32-bit editions, so what's the benefit?

Advantages of Moving Up to 64-bit Processing
The advantages of 64-bit vs. 32-bit computing may seem subtle and difficult to define precisely, yet they are real. The RAM partitioning schemes utilized by 32-bit OS platforms are essentially an engineering afterthought that undermines system stability. RAM-starved applications are often not able to access free memory since the O/S cannot assign it effectively. This results in software freezing or executing erratically even when a computer seems to have plenty of unused memory. Also, 64-bit software platforms allow much more physical RAM than 32-bit systems and process twice as much information per clock cycle. You can also switch from one memory-hungry program to another more quickly while running in a 64-bit system. Fundamentally, 64-bit computing makes environments more reliable, more scalable, and faster, which in turn makes companies more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Processing Initiative
Microsoft's “x64” technology works with the 64-bit processors used in most computers currently installed in office IT environments. (Microsoft's "Itanium" initiative is limited to special advanced Intel and AMD CPUs processors and is intended for applications that require large-scale multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop programs including Microsoft Office 2007 and Visual Studio 2005 were offered only in 32-bit versions, which can nevertheless be run on x64 platforms. The latest family of Microsoft Office delivers dramatic enhancements. As an example, Microsoft Office Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit version that allows you to create spreadsheets with huge datasets that are not limited to the 2-gigabyte file size that hampers previous versions of Excel.

Microsoft offers true x64 versions of key Microsoft Server platforms, such as Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Commerce Server, BizTalk Server 2006, as well as Operations Manager. Windows Server x64 editions are priced identically to 32-bit versions, so in most circumstances you pay nothing extra for 64-bit server operating systems or hardware.

For desktop PCs, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price 64-bit versions that offer high dependability, scalability, and throughput. As with all upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit operating systems, the move up can’t be carried out seamlessly. Each workstation and server requires a clean installation that entails reinstalling application software, saving and restoring data, and installing 64-bit device drivers. In fact, for typical in-place desktop PCs, and for every PC running Microsoft Windows XP, even the 64-bit edition of Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 will require you to carry out a clean installation. Consequently, there will never be a better time to migrate to 64-bit computing on the workstation, since it will require scarcely any additional effort.

How Progent Can Assist You to Migrate to 64-bit Processing
In addition to helping you to evaluate the business advantages, costs, and technical variables associated with upgrading to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you plan, document, carry out, administer, and repair a system-wide migration to 64-bit server and desktop OS software and applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit infrastructure to make sure it handles all of the important 32-bit applications which you intend to keep as well as the new 64-bit editions of software you wish to install. If moving to Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your x64 upgrade strategy, Progent's certified Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 testing and upgrade experts can help your company to determine which desktop computers and programs can or ought to be retained, and outline an upgrade process that is the least disturbing to your network productivity.

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

  • Progent's expertise delivering remote network consulting and support can save your business time and money over the course of your 64-bit upgrade, and Progent's background cooperating with in-house support staffs and delivering technical knowledge sharing 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 accommodate your x64 processing solution, that it is simple to track, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it offers a high level of data protection and robustness.

  • Progent's business continuity engineers can help you in creating and testing a disaster recovery plan that incorporates your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center SCDPM support professionals can help you to deploy Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to support automated remote backup with the advantage of fast system recovery.

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, GIAC, and CISA certified security specialists can help you create a company-wide security plan that implements some of the new security mechanisms incorporated into x64 server platforms. Progent can also perform security vulnerability testing to evaluate or confirm your network's adherence to mandated security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization engineers can show you how to utilize 64-bit virtual server technology to save money on equipment, streamline administration, enhance dependability, lower colocation expenses, and speed up restoration time in the event of a catastrophic breakdown.

  • Progent's live online training classes can help bring your network support staff and your office workers up to speed rapidly and cost-effectively by delivering online webinars customized for your computing requirements and operational processes.
Contact Progent for Consulting Support for Upgrading to x64 Computing
For additional information about how Progent's engineers can assist you to upgrade to 64-bit processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.