Overview of 64-bit Computing
64-bit Migration HelpThanks to the release of Windows 7, the business justification for upgrading to 64-bit computing has never been better. However, many IT managers are predictably hesitant to launch a major upgrade task when the primary advantages — increased dependability, capacity, and speed — are excessively vague to quantify with precision. As a Microsoft Partner with more than 20 years of experience assisting companies to carry out system-wide upgrade projects, Progent can help your company to understand the costs and benefits of moving to 64-bit computing, create an efficient migration strategy that reduces operational interruptions, and provide cost-effective, expert remote support as you upgrade the software powering your existing servers and desktops.

For most business networks, 64-bit computing is a giant unexploited power source. Both Intel and AMD, the leading CPU chip manufacturers, have been incorporating 64-bit capability in their mainstream CPUs for years, so that all classes of business computers including notebooks, desktop computers, engineering workstations and advanced servers already possess the architecture to run in 64-bit format. However the majority of these computers continue to host 32-bit operating systems.

The primary reason for this common hesitation to participate in the 64-bit revolution is that the real benefit for upgrading in-place systems has seemed to be modest in relation to the effort needed. There is no automatic path to upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system. The enhancement requires a clean install, which means reinstalling existing applications, backing up and restoring data files, and installing new 64-bit drivers. This demands thorough planning to do efficiently. Furthermore, many popular office applications are currently offered only in 32-bit versions, so where's the advantage?

Benefits of Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit vs. 32-bit computing may appear to be vague and hard to quantify, but they are real. The memory allocation techniques utilized by 32-bit OS platforms are basically a technical band-aid that undermines system stability. Memory-hungry programs are often not able to utilize available RAM since the O/S cannot allocate it effectively. This can be the cause of programs freezing or executing fitfully even though a machine appears to have plenty of unused memory. In addition, 64-bit software platforms support far more physical memory than 32-bit systems and crunch more data per CPU cycle. You can also switch from one RAM-hungry program to another more quickly when you are running in a 64-bit system. Basically, 64-bit processing makes systems more stable, more scalable, and faster, which makes businesses more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Support
Microsoft's “x64” technology works with the 64-bit processors found in virtually all servers and desktop PCs currently installed in office networks. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" support is limited to special advanced processors and is designed for environments that need massive multi-processing.) Prior to the availability of Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft client programs such as Microsoft Office 2007 and Visual Studio 2005 were available only in 32-bit versions, which can still be used on x64 platforms. The new family of Office delivers significant enhancements. For example, Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit version that allows you to create spreadsheets with enormous datasets that are not restricted by the 2-gigabyte maximum file size imposed by 32-bit releases of Excel.

Microsoft has developed native x64 editions of many Microsoft Server platforms, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server 2007, Microsoft BizTalk Server, as well as Operations Manager. Windows Server 64-bit editions are priced the same as 32-bit versions, so in most circumstances it costs nothing extra for 64-bit server software or machines.

For client computers, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price 64-bit versions that offer high stability, scalability, and throughput. As with all migrations from 32- to 64-bit platforms, the upgrade can't be carried out without effort. Each desktop PC and server needs a clean installation that entails reinstalling applications, backing up and recovering data, and configuring 64-bit drivers. In fact, for typical current workstations, and for all PCs powered by XP, even the 64-bit release of Windows 7 or Windows 8 requires you to perform a clean install. This being the case, there will never be a better opportunity to upgrade to x64 computing on the desktop, since it will require scarcely any additional work.

How Progent Can Help You to Migrate to 64-bit Processing
In addition to assisting your organization to evaluate the business advantages, costs, and technical risks attached to migrating to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you plan, document, carry out, administer, and repair a network-wide migration to 64-bit server and desktop OS software and applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit environment to verify that it handles all of the important 32-bit programs which 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 part of your x64 migration plan, Progent's certified Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 planning and upgrade experts can assist your company to determine which workstation hardware and applications can or ought to be retained, and design an upgrade procedure that is the least disruptive to your business productivity.

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

  • Progent's expertise providing remote computer consulting and troubleshooting can save your business effort and money during your x64 upgrade, and Progent's experience working with in-house support personnel and delivering technical knowledge sharing to them can increase the efficiency of your support team.

  • Progent's Cisco CCIE network engineers can make sure that your network architecture is configured to accommodate your 64-bit processing solution, that it is simple to monitor, manage, and troubleshoot, and that it provides a high level of data protection and robustness.

  • Progent's disaster recovery engineers can help you in developing and validating a disaster recovery plan that incorporates your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) consulting professionals can assist you to deploy Microsoft System Center SCDPM to support near-continuous remote backup with the advantage of fast data recovery.

  • Progent's CISSP and GIAC certified security consultants can assist you develop a company-wide security plan that implements some of the new protection technologies included with 64-bit server platforms. Progent can also carry out network security vulnerability checking to evaluate or validate your company's adherence to mandated security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization engineers can show you how to benefit from 64-bit virtual server solutions to leverage your hardware, simplify management, enhance dependability, cut colocation costs, and speed up recovery time in the event of a disaster.

  • Progent's live online education can help bring both your network support staff and your desktop workers up to date rapidly and cost-effectively by delivering interactive online webinars customized for your network requirements and operational procedures.
Contact Progent for Support for Migrating to 64-bit Computing
For additional details about how Progent can assist your business to upgrade to 64-bit processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.