Introduction to 64-bit Computing
64-bit Upgrade SupportThanks to the availability of Microsoft Windows 7, the business justification for migrating to 64-bit processing has never seemed better. Still, many network managers are predictably hesitant to take on a sizable migration project when the main benefits — increased stability, scalability, and speed — are too intangible to quantify with precision. As a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of experience helping businesses to implement network-wide upgrades, Progent can help your company to understand the risks and rewards of moving to 64-bit processing, design an economical upgrade strategy that reduces business interruptions, and provide cost-effective, expert online consulting while you update the system software powering your current servers and desktops.

With most office networks, 64-bit computing is a great untapped resource. Intel and AMD, the leading CPU chip makers, have been incorporating 64-bit capability in their commodity processors for years, so that all classes of business computers including notebooks, desktop PCs, engineering workstations and advanced servers already have the ability to operate in 64-bit mode. However most of these in-place computers still host 32-bit operating systems.

The primary reason for this widespread reluctance to participate in the 64-bit revolution is that the real benefit for updating in-place computers has appeared to be modest in relation to the effort required. There is no automatic process to migrate from a 32 to a 64-bit OS. The upgrade demands a clean installation, which calls for reinstalling existing applications, saving and restoring data, and configuring new drivers. This requires thoughtful planning to carry out economically. Meanwhile, many popular office applications are still available only in 32-bit versions, so what's the advantage?

Advantages of Upgrading to 64-bit Processing
The benefits of 64-bit over 32-bit processing may seem vague and hard to quantify, yet they are real. The RAM memory allocation schemes utilized by 32-bit systems are basically an engineering band-aid that undermines stability. Memory-hungry programs are often not allowed to utilize free RAM because the operating system cannot assign it effectively. This results in software freezing or executing erratically even when a computer appears to have ample available RAM. Also, 64-bit operating systems allow much more addressable memory 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 environment. Fundamentally, 64-bit processing makes systems more reliable, more expandable, and faster, which makes companies more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Processing Initiative
Microsoft's ďx64Ē software supports the 64-bit processors used in most computers now deployed in office networks. (Microsoft's "Itanium" platform is restricted to special advanced processors and is intended for applications that need large-scale multi-processing.) Prior to the availability of Microsoft Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop applications including 2007 Office and Visual Studio 2005 were available only in 32-bit editions, which can nevertheless be run on x64 Windows. The new family of Microsoft Office delivers dramatic enhancements. For example, Office Excel 2010 is available in a 64-bit edition that permits you to create spreadsheets with enormous databases that are not restricted by the 2-gigabyte maximum file size imposed by 32-bit editions of Excel.

Microsoft has developed true x64 versions of key Microsoft Server System products, including Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Commerce Server, BizTalk Server, plus System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server x64 editions are priced the same as their 32-bit editions, so in most circumstances it costs nothing extra for 64-bit server operating systems or machines.

For desktop PCs, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price x64 versions that provide high stability, scalability, and performance. As with all upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit operating systems, the upgrade canít be carried out seamlessly. Each workstation and server requires a clean setup that involves reinstalling applications, saving and recovering data, and installing 64-bit drivers. On the other hand, for most in-place workstations, and for every PC powered by XP, the 32 or 64-bit release of Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 will require you to carry out a clean install. This being the case, there has never been a better time to move to x64 processing on the desktop, since it will involve little extra work.

How Progent Can Assist You to Migrate to 64-bit Computing
Besides helping your organization to evaluate the practical advantages, expenses, and technical risks attached to upgrading to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you design, document, implement, manage, and repair a system-wide move to 64-bit server and desktop operating systems and business applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit infrastructure to verify that it handles all of the important 32-bit applications that you intend to retain plus the latest 64-bit editions of software you wish to run. If moving to Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your x64 migration plan, Progent's certified Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 evaluation and upgrade consultants can assist you to decide which workstation computers and programs can or ought to be retained, and plan an upgrade procedure that is the least disturbing to your network operations.

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

  • Progent's experience providing remote computer consulting and troubleshooting can save your business effort and expense over the course of your x64 upgrade, and Progent's background cooperating with in-house IT personnel and providing technical information sharing to them can increase the efficiency of your network support staff.

  • Progent's certified Cisco CCIE network engineers can verify that your network infrastructure is configured to support your x64 computing solution, that it is easy to monitor, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it provides a high level of data protection and fault tolerance.

  • Progent's disaster recovery engineers can assist you in creating and testing a workplace recovery strategy that includes your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) consulting experts can help you to deploy System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to provide automated online backup with the capability of fast system recovery.

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, and GIAC certified network 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 perform network security vulnerability checking to assess or verify your company's compliance with mandated security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization engineers can show you how to utilize 64-bit virtual server technology to leverage your hardware, simplify management, enhance fault tolerance, lower colocation costs, and speed up restoration time in the event of a disaster.

  • Progent's live online education can help bring both your IT support team and your office employees up to speed quickly and cost-effectively by providing interactive online webinars customized for your computing environment and business procedures.
Contact Progent to Get Support for Migrating to 64-bit Computing
To find out additional information about how Progent can assist you to migrate to 64-bit computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.