With the majority of business IT systems, 64-bit processing is a great unexploited resource. Both Intel and AMD, the top CPU chip manufacturers, have been incorporating 64-bit ability in their commodity processors for years, so that all types of business computing hardware including laptops, desktop computers, high-powered workstations and advanced servers already have the architecture to run in 64-bit format. However the majority of these in-place computers still run 32-bit operating systems.
The primary reason for this widespread hesitation to participate in the 64-bit millennium is that the real advantage for updating existing systems has appeared to be small in comparison to the work required. There is no automatic path to upgrade from a 32 to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade demands a clean installation, which means reinstalling existing programs, backing up and recovering data, and configuring new 64-bit drivers. This requires careful planning to carry out efficiently. Meanwhile, most office applications are still offered only in 32-bit editions, so what's the advantage?
Benefits of Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit over 32-bit processing may appear to be subtle and hard to quantify, yet they are real. The RAM memory partitioning techniques used in 32-bit operating systems are essentially an engineering afterthought that undermines system stability. Memory-hungry applications are sometimes not able to utilize existing RAM since the operating system is unable to allocate it effectively. This can be the cause of software freezing or performing fitfully even though a machine appears to have plenty of unused RAM. Also, 64-bit operating systems support far more addressable memory than 32-bit ones and crunch more data per clock cycle. You can also switch from one memory-hungry application to another more quickly when using a 64-bit system. Basically, 64-bit computing makes environments more reliable, more expandable, and more efficient, which in turn makes businesses more productive.
Microsoft's 64-bit Processing Software
Microsoft's “x64” technology works with the 64-bit CPUs found in virtually all servers and desktop PCs now installed in business IT environments. (Microsoft's "Itanium" initiative is limited to special advanced Intel and AMD CPUs processors and is designed for applications that need massive multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Office 2010, most Microsoft desktop programs including Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were available solely in 32-bit editions, which can still be used on x64 platforms. The new family of Office delivers significant improvements. As an example, Microsoft 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-gigabyte maximum file size imposed by 32-bit editions of Excel.
Microsoft offers true x64 versions of many Microsoft Server platforms, such as Windows Server 2008 and 2003, SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Commerce Server, Microsoft BizTalk Server, plus System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server x64 editions are priced and licensed identically to their 32-bit editions, so typically you pay nothing extra for 64-bit server operating systems or hardware.
For desktop PCs, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost x64 versions that offer advanced stability, scalability, and throughput. Like all migrations from 32- to 64-bit operating systems, the upgrade can't be carried out seamlessly. Every workstation and server requires a clean installation that entails reconfiguring application software, backing up and recovering data, and configuring 64-bit drivers. On the other hand, for typical in-place desktop PCs, and for every PC powered by Windows XP, the 32 or 64-bit edition of Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 requires you to perform a "from scratch" install. This being the case, there will never be a better opportunity to upgrade to 64-bit processing on the desktop, since it will involve little extra work.
How Progent Can Assist You to Upgrade to 64-bit Computing
In addition to assisting you to evaluate the practical benefits, costs, and technical risks attached to upgrading to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you plan, document, implement, manage, and troubleshoot a system-wide migration to 64-bit server and client OS software and applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit environment to make sure it handles all of the important 32-bit applications which you want to keep as well as the latest 64-bit versions of applications you plan to install. If adopting Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your 64-bit migration strategy, Progent's certified Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 evaluation and migration consultants can help your company to decide which workstation computers and programs can or should be preserved, and plan a migration process that is the least disruptive to your business operations.
Other ways Progent's consultants can assist your business to upgrade to 64-bit computing include: