Introduction to 64-bit Computing
64-bit Upgrade SupportWith the release of Windows 7, the business case for moving to 64-bit processing has never been more compelling. However, many network administrators are understandably hesitant to launch a major migration task when the main benefits — improved dependability, scalability, and speed — are too vague to evaluate precisely. As a Microsoft Partner with more than two decades of experience helping businesses to implement system-wide upgrades, Progent can help your company to assess the risks and rewards of moving to 64-bit computing, design an efficient upgrade strategy that minimizes business interruptions, and deliver affordable, expert online engineering help as you upgrade the software powering your current servers and desktops.

With most office IT systems, 64-bit processing is a giant unexploited power source. Intel and AMD, the leading CPU chip manufacturers, have been incorporating 64-bit ability in their commodity processors for years, with the result that all types of business computing hardware including laptops, desktop PCs, engineering workstations and advanced servers now have the architecture to operate in 64-bit format. Yet the majority of these devices continue to run 32-bit operating systems.

The main cause for this common reluctance to join the 64-bit millennium is that the business benefit for updating in-place systems has seemed to be small in comparison to the work needed. There is no seamless path to upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade demands a clean installation, which means reinstalling current applications, saving and restoring data files, and installing new drivers. This demands thorough planning to do efficiently. Furthermore, most desktop applications are still offered only in 32-bit editions, so what's the benefit?

Benefits of Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
The advantages of 64-bit vs. 32-bit computing may seem vague and difficult to define precisely, but they are significant. The RAM partitioning schemes utilized by 32-bit OS platforms are basically a technical afterthought that undermines system stability. RAM-hungry applications are often unable to utilize free memory since the operating system is unable to assign it efficiently. This can be the cause of programs freezing or running erratically even though a computer seems to have ample unused memory. In addition, 64-bit software platforms support much more physical RAM than 32-bit systems and process more information per CPU cycle. You can also switch from one memory-hungry program to another faster when you are running in a 64-bit system. Fundamentally, 64-bit processing makes systems more stable, more scalable, and more efficient, which in turn makes businesses more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Support
Microsoft's “x64” technology works with the 64-bit CPUs used in virtually all computers currently installed in business IT systems. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" technology is limited to a few high-end processors and is designed for environments that need massive multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Microsoft Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop applications including 2007 Office and Visual Studio 2005 were offered solely in 32-bit versions, which can still be run on x64 Windows. The latest family of Microsoft Office offers dramatic enhancements. For example, Office Excel 2010 is available in a 64-bit version that allows you to create spreadsheets with enormous databases that are not limited by the 2-Gbyte maximum file size that hampers 32-bit versions of Microsoft Office Excel.

Microsoft has developed native x64 versions of many Microsoft Server System products, including Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Commerce Server, BizTalk Server 2006, plus System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server 64-bit versions are priced and licensed identically to their 32-bit counterparts, so ordinarily it costs nothing more for 64-bit server software or hardware.

For desktop PCs, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price x64 versions that provide advanced dependability, capacity, and performance. As with all upgrades from 32- to 64-bit platforms, the move up can't be carried out seamlessly. Each desktop PC and server needs a clean installation that entails reconfiguring application software, backing up and recovering data, and installing 64-bit drivers. In fact, for most current workstations, and for every PC running Microsoft Windows XP, the 32 or 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 requires you to carry out a clean installation. Consequently, there will never be a better time to migrate to 64-bit processing on the workstation, since it will involve little additional effort.

How Progent Can Help You to Upgrade to 64-bit Computing
Besides assisting your organization to evaluate the practical advantages, costs, and technical risks attached to migrating to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you plan, document, carry out, manage, and troubleshoot a network-wide migration to 64-bit server and desktop OS software and business applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit environment to make sure it handles all of the key 32-bit programs which you want to keep as well as the new 64-bit versions of applications you plan to install. If moving to Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your x64 migration plan, Progent's certified Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 testing and upgrade consultants can help you to decide which workstation hardware and programs can or should be retained, and design a migration process that is minimally disruptive to your network operations.

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

  • Progent's experience providing online network consulting and support can save you time and expense during your 64-bit migration, and Progent's experience working with in-house IT staffs and delivering technical information transfer to them can increase the effectiveness of your network support staff.

  • Progent's Cisco CCIE network consultants can verify that your network architecture is optimized to accommodate your 64-bit processing environment, that it is easy to track, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it provides a high degree of security and fault tolerance.

  • Progent's disaster recovery consultants can assist you in developing and validating a workplace recovery plan that includes your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center SCDPM support experts can assist you to deploy Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to support near-continuous online backup with the capability of rapid data recovery.

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, GIAC, and CISA certified security experts can assist you create a company-wide security strategy that implements some of the powerful security mechanisms incorporated into x64 servers. Progent can also provide security vulnerability testing to evaluate or confirm your network's compliance with mandated security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization consultants can show you how to use 64-bit virtual server solutions to save money on equipment, streamline management, enhance robustness, lower hosting expenses, and reduce restoration time in the event of a catastrophic breakdown.

  • Progent's online training classes can help bring your IT support team and your office employees up to speed quickly and cost-effectively by providing online webinars customized for your network environment and business procedures.
Contact Progent for Consulting Support for Upgrading to 64-bit Processing
For additional information about how Progent's consultants can help your business to migrate to 64-bit processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.