Introduction to 64-bit Processing
Thanks to the availability of Microsoft Windows 7, the business case for migrating to 64-bit processing has never been more compelling. Still, most IT administrators are predictably hesitant to launch a sizable upgrade project when the primary benefits — improved dependability, scalability, and speed — are too vague to evaluate with precision. Being a Microsoft Partner with years of experience assisting companies to implement network-wide upgrade projects, Progent can help you to assess the costs and rewards of moving to 64-bit processing, design an economical upgrade strategy that minimizes business interruptions, and deliver affordable, high-level remote support as you upgrade the software powering your current servers and desktops.
For the majority of office IT systems, 64-bit processing is a giant unexploited resource. Both Intel and AMD, the leading CPU chip makers, have been delivering 64-bit capability in their mainstream CPUs for years, so that all types of business computers including notebooks, desktop computers, high-powered workstations and back-office servers already have the architecture to operate in 64-bit format. Yet the majority of these in-place computers still host 32-bit operating systems.
The main cause for this common hesitation to participate in the 64-bit revolution is that the real advantage for upgrading existing computers has appeared to be modest in comparison to the work needed. There is no automatic process to upgrade from a 32 to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade requires a clean install, which calls for reinstalling existing programs, saving and restoring data files, and installing new 64-bit drivers. This requires thorough planning to carry out efficiently. Furthermore, many popular office applications are still available only in 32-bit versions, so where's the advantage?
Benefits of Moving Up to 64-bit Processing
The advantages of 64-bit vs. 32-bit computing may seem subtle and hard to define precisely, yet they are significant. The memory partitioning techniques used in 32-bit systems are essentially an engineering band-aid that limits stability. RAM-hungry programs are often unable to utilize existing memory because the operating system cannot allocate it effectively. This can be the cause of programs freezing or running erratically even when a computer appears to have ample unused RAM. In addition, 64-bit software platforms support far more physical RAM than 32-bit systems and process more information per clock cycle. You can also go from one RAM-intensive program to another faster when you are using a 64-bit environment. Basically, 64-bit computing makes environments more stable, more expandable, and more efficient, which makes companies more productive.
Microsoft's x64 Software
Microsoft's “x64” technology works with the 64-bit processors found in virtually all computers currently installed in office IT systems. (Microsoft's "Itanium" technology is restricted to a few advanced processors and is designed for environments that need large-scale multi-processing.) Prior to the availability of Microsoft Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft client applications such as Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were offered solely in 32-bit editions, which can nevertheless be run on x64 Windows. The new generation of Office offers dramatic improvements. For example, Microsoft Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit version that allows you to build spreadsheets with enormous databases that are not restricted by the 2-Gbyte file size imposed by previous releases of Microsoft Office Excel.
Microsoft has developed true x64 versions of many Microsoft Server System products, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server 2007, BizTalk Server, as well as Operations Manager. Windows Server 64-bit editions are priced identically to 32-bit editions, so ordinarily it costs nothing extra for 64-bit server operating systems or machines.
For desktop PCs, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price 64-bit editions that offer advanced stability, capacity, and performance. Like all upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit operating systems, the move up can’t be done without effort. Every desktop PC and server needs a clean installation that entails reconfiguring applications, backing up and restoring data, and installing 64-bit drivers. In fact, for most in-place workstations, and for every PC running Microsoft Windows XP, any version of Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows 8 requires you to perform a "from scratch" installation. This being the case, there will never be a better time to migrate to x64 processing on the workstation, since it will involve scarcely any additional work.
How Progent Can Help Your Business to Migrate to 64-bit Processing
In addition to assisting you to understand the business benefits, costs, and technical risks attached to migrating to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you design, document, carry out, administer, and repair a system-wide move to 64-bit server and client OS software and business applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit environment to make sure it supports all of the key 32-bit programs which you want to retain plus the new 64-bit editions of applications you plan to install. If adopting Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your x64 upgrade plan, Progent's certified Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 evaluation and upgrade experts can help your company to determine which workstation hardware and programs can or should be retained, and design a migration process that is minimally disruptive to your business operations.
Other ways Progent can assist your business to upgrade to x64 computing include:
Contact Progent for Expertise in Migrating to x64 Computing
- Progent's expertise providing remote network support services can save your business time and money during your x64 upgrade, and Progent's background cooperating with internal IT personnel and providing technical knowledge sharing to them can increase 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 environment, that it is easy to monitor, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it provides a high degree of security and dependability.
- Progent's business continuity engineers can assist you in creating and testing a disaster recovery strategy that includes your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) support experts can help you to configure Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to support automated online backup with the capability of rapid system recovery.
- Progent's CISM, CISSP, and GIAC certified network security specialists can assist you develop a comprehensive security plan that deploys some of the new security technologies incorporated into x64 servers. Progent can also perform security vulnerability testing to evaluate or validate your company's adherence to industry or government security standards.
- Progent's virtualization engineers can show you how to use 64-bit virtual server technology to conserve hardware resources, simplify management, enhance fault tolerance, cut hosting costs, and speed up recovery time in the event of a catastrophic breakdown.
- Progent's online education can help get your network support staff and your office employees up to speed quickly and affordably by providing remote webinars specialized for your network environment and operational procedures.
For additional information about how Progent's consultants can help you to upgrade to 64-bit computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.