Introduction to 64-bit Processing
64-bit Upgrade SupportThanks to the availability of Windows 7, the business case for upgrading to 64-bit processing has never been more compelling. However, most IT managers are predictably hesitant to take on a major upgrade project when the main advantages — improved dependability, capacity, and performance — are too intangible to quantify with precision. As a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of background assisting companies to carry out network-wide upgrades, Progent can help you to assess the risks and rewards of adopting 64-bit processing, create an economical upgrade strategy that reduces productivity interruptions, and provide cost-effective, high-level remote engineering help as you upgrade the system software powering your existing computers.

With the majority of office networks, 64-bit computing is a giant unexploited power source. Intel and AMD, the top CPU chip makers, have been delivering 64-bit capability in their mainstream CPUs for years, so that all types of business computers including laptops, desktop PCs, engineering workstations and back-office servers now possess the ability to run in 64-bit mode. Yet the majority of these computers continue to host 32-bit operating systems and applications.

The main reason for this common hesitation to join the 64-bit millennium is that the real advantage for updating existing computers has appeared to be small in relation to the work required. There is no automatic process to migrate from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade demands a clean installation, which means reinstalling existing programs, backing up and restoring data files, and installing new 64-bit drivers. This requires thoughtful planning to carry out efficiently. Meanwhile, most office applications are still available only in 32-bit versions, so what's the advantage?

Advantages of Moving Up to 64-bit Processing
The advantages of 64-bit over 32-bit processing may seem vague and difficult to quantify, but they are significant. The memory allocation schemes utilized by 32-bit operating systems are basically a technical afterthought that undermines system stability. RAM-starved applications are often unable to utilize available memory because the operating system cannot assign it efficiently. This can be the cause of programs shutting down or performing fitfully even though a computer appears to have plenty of unused memory. Also, 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-intensive application to another faster while using a 64-bit environment. Basically, 64-bit processing makes systems more reliable, more expandable, and more efficient, which in turn makes companies more productive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Initiative
Microsoft's “x64” technology supports the 64-bit processors found in most computers now deployed in office IT systems. (Microsoft's "Itanium" support is restricted to a few advanced CPUs and is designed for environments that require large-scale multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Microsoft Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop programs such as Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were offered solely in 32-bit versions, which can nevertheless be run on x64 platforms. The latest generation of Microsoft Office offers dramatic enhancements. For example, Office Excel 2010 is available in a 64-bit edition that allows you to create spreadsheets with enormous datasets that are not limited by the 2-Gbyte maximum file size that hampers 32-bit editions of Excel.

Microsoft offers native x64 editions of key Microsoft Server platforms, such as Windows Server 2008 and 2003, SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, Commerce Server 2007, Microsoft BizTalk Server, plus System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server 64-bit editions are priced and licensed the same as their 32-bit versions, so in most circumstances you pay nothing more for 64-bit server software or machines.

For desktop PCs, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price 64-bit editions that provide high stability, capacity, and throughput. Like all migrations from 32-bit to 64-bit operating systems, the move up can’t be done without effort. Every workstation and server requires a clean setup that involves reconfiguring applications, backing up and recovering data files, and installing 64-bit drivers. On the other hand, for typical in-place workstations, and for every PC powered by XP, the 32 or 64-bit edition of Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows 8 will require you to carry out a "from scratch" installation. This being the case, there has never been a better opportunity to upgrade to x64 processing on the desktop, since it will involve little additional work.

How Progent Can Assist You to Upgrade to 64-bit Processing
In addition to assisting you to evaluate the business advantages, costs, and technical variables attached to upgrading to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you plan, document, implement, administer, and troubleshoot a network-wide move to 64-bit server and client OS software and applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit environment to make sure it supports all of the key 32-bit applications that you intend to keep plus the latest 64-bit editions of software 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 engineers, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 planning and migration consultants can help you to decide which workstation hardware and applications can or should be retained, and design an upgrade process that is minimally disturbing to your network productivity.

Additional ways Progent's consultants can assist your business to upgrade to 64-bit processing include:

  • Progent's experience delivering remote computer support services can save you time and expense during your x64 migration, and Progent's experience cooperating with in-house support staffs and delivering technical knowledge sharing to them can improve the efficiency of your support team.

  • Progent's certified Cisco CCIE network engineers can make sure that your network architecture is optimized to support your 64-bit processing environment, that it is easy to monitor, administer, and repair, and that it provides a high level of data protection and dependability.

  • Progent's business continuity consultants can help you in developing and testing a workplace recovery strategy that incorporates your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center System Center Data Protection Manager engineering experts can help you to configure Microsoft System Center SCDPM to provide near-continuous remote backup with the capability of rapid data restoration.

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, GIAC, and CISA network security engineers can help you create a comprehensive security plan that deploys some of the new protection mechanisms included with 64-bit servers. Progent can also provide security vulnerability checking to evaluate or verify your company's compliance with industry or government security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization engineers can help you use 64-bit virtual server solutions to conserve hardware, simplify administration, enhance dependability, lower colocation expenses, and reduce recovery time in case of a disaster.

  • Progent's online education can help get both your network management team and your office employees up to date rapidly and cost-effectively by providing online virtual training customized for your network environment and business processes.
Contact Progent for Help Upgrading to x64 Processing
To find out more information about how Progent can help you to upgrade to x64 computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.