Overview of 64-bit Computing
Thanks to the availability of Microsoft Windows 7, the business case for migrating to 64-bit computing has never been better. However, most IT managers are predictably hesitant to launch a significant migration task when the primary benefits — improved dependability, capacity, and performance — are excessively vague to quantify precisely. As a Microsoft Partner with years of experience helping companies to carry out network-wide migration projects, Progent can help you to assess the costs and benefits of moving to 64-bit processing, design an economical migration strategy that minimizes productivity interruptions, and deliver cost-effective, high-level online consulting while you update the software running your existing computers.
With most office networks, 64-bit processing is a great untapped resource. Both Intel and AMD, the leading CPU chip makers, have been incorporating 64-bit ability in their commodity processors for years, so that all types of business computing hardware such as laptops, desktop computers, engineering workstations and advanced servers already have the ability to operate in 64-bit mode. Yet most of these in-place computers continue to host 32-bit software platforms.
The primary cause for this common hesitation to join the 64-bit millennium is that the real benefit for upgrading in-place systems has seemed to be modest in relation to the effort required. There is no seamless process to migrate from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system. The enhancement demands a clean installation, which calls for reinstalling current programs, backing up and recovering data files, and installing new 64-bit drivers. This requires thoughtful planning to do economically. Meanwhile, most desktop productivity software are currently available only in 32-bit versions, so where's the advantage?
Advantages of Moving Up to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit over 32-bit processing may seem vague and hard to quantify, but they are real. The RAM memory management schemes utilized by 32-bit platforms are essentially a technical band-aid that undermines system stability. Memory-starved applications are sometimes unable to access free RAM since the O/S is unable to allocate it efficiently. This results in software shutting down or executing erratically even though a computer seems to have plenty of unused RAM. In addition, 64-bit software platforms support much more physical memory than 32-bit ones and crunch more data per CPU cycle. You can also jump from one RAM-hungry application to another more quickly when running in a 64-bit system. Basically, 64-bit computing makes systems more stable, more scalable, and more efficient, which in turn makes businesses more productive.
Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Initiative
Microsoft's “x64” software supports the 64-bit CPUs found in virtually all computers now deployed in office IT environments. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" support is restricted to special high-end CPUs and is intended for environments that need massive multi-processing.) Before the availability of Office 2010, most Microsoft desktop programs including Microsoft Office 2007 and Visual Studio 2005 were available solely in 32-bit versions, which can still be used on x64 Windows. The latest generation of Microsoft Office 2010 offers dramatic improvements. For example, Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit edition that permits you to create spreadsheets with enormous databases that are not restricted to the 2-Gbyte file size that hampers 32-bit releases of Excel.
Microsoft has developed native x64 versions of key Microsoft Server platforms, including Windows Server 2008 and 2003, SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server, BizTalk Server, as well as Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server x64 versions are priced and licensed the same as 32-bit versions, so typically you pay nothing extra for 64-bit server software or machines.
For desktop PCs, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price 64-bit versions that offer high stability, capacity, and throughput. As with all upgrades from 32- to 64-bit operating systems, the upgrade can’t be done seamlessly. Every desktop PC and server needs a clean setup that involves reconfiguring application software, saving and restoring data, and installing 64-bit drivers. On the other hand, for typical current desktop PCs, and for every PC running Microsoft Windows XP, the 32 or 64-bit release of Windows 7 or 8 requires you to perform a clean installation. This being the case, there will never be a better time to upgrade to 64-bit computing on the workstation, since it will involve scarcely any extra effort.
How Progent Can Assist You to Migrate to 64-bit Processing
Besides helping you to evaluate the business benefits, costs, and technical variables attached to migrating to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you plan, document, carry out, manage, and repair a system-wide move to 64-bit server and client operating systems and business applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit environment to verify that it handles all of the key 32-bit applications that you intend to retain as well as the new 64-bit editions of software you plan to run. If adopting Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your 64-bit upgrade strategy, Progent's Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 testing and migration experts can assist you to determine which workstation computers and applications can or should be retained, and design an upgrade procedure that is the least disturbing to your network operations.
Additional ways Progent's consultants can assist your business to upgrade to x64 computing include:
Contact Progent to Get Help Migrating to 64-bit Processing
- Progent's experience providing online computer consulting and support can save you effort and money during your 64-bit upgrade, and Progent's background working with internal support personnel and delivering technical knowledge transfer to them can increase the efficiency of your network support staff.
- Progent's Cisco CCIE network engineers can verify that your network architecture is configured to support your 64-bit computing solution, that it is simple to monitor, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it offers a high level of data protection and robustness.
- Progent's business continuity engineers can assist you in creating and testing a business continuity plan that incorporates your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) support experts can help you to deploy Microsoft System Center SCDPM to support near-continuous online backup with the capability of rapid system restoration.
- Progent's CISM, CISSP, and GIAC network security engineers can help you create a company-wide security plan that deploys some of the new protection technologies included with x64 servers. Progent can also carry out network security vulnerability checking to assess or validate your company's adherence to mandated security requirements.
- Progent's virtualization engineers can help you utilize 64-bit virtual server solutions to save money on hardware, streamline management, enhance dependability, cut hosting expenses, and reduce restoration time in case of a catastrophic breakdown.
- Progent's online training classes can help get your IT management staff and your office workers up to speed rapidly and cost-effectively by providing remote webinars customized for your computing environment and business processes.
For additional details about how Progent can help you to migrate to 64-bit computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.