With most office IT systems, 64-bit computing is a giant untapped resource. Both Intel and AMD, the top CPU chip makers, have been incorporating 64-bit capability in their commodity CPUs for years, with the result that all types of business computers such as laptops, desktop PCs, engineering workstations and back-office servers now possess the architecture to run in 64-bit mode. However the majority of these in-place computers continue to run 32-bit software platforms.
The primary reason for this widespread hesitation to participate in the 64-bit revolution is that the real benefit for updating in-place computers has seemed to be modest in relation to the effort required. There is no automatic process to migrate from a 32-bit to a 64-bit OS. The upgrade demands a clean install, which means reinstalling current programs, backing up and restoring data, and configuring new 64-bit drivers. This requires thoughtful planning to do efficiently. Furthermore, most office productivity software are still offered only in 32-bit versions, so what's the benefit?
Benefits of Moving Up to 64-bit Processing
The advantages of 64-bit vs. 32-bit processing may seem subtle and difficult to define precisely, yet they are real. The memory partitioning techniques utilized by 32-bit OS platforms are basically an engineering band-aid that undermines system stability. Memory-hungry programs are often not allowed to access available RAM since the operating system is unable to assign it effectively. This can be the cause of programs shutting down or running erratically even when a machine appears to have plenty of unused memory. Also, 64-bit operating systems support far more physical RAM than 32-bit ones and crunch more data per clock cycle. You can also switch from one RAM-intensive application to another more quickly when you are using a 64-bit system. Basically, 64-bit computing makes systems more reliable, more scalable, and more efficient, which makes businesses more productive.
Microsoft's 64-bit Processing Initiative
Microsoft's “x64” software works with the 64-bit processors found in virtually all servers and desktop PCs now installed in business networks. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" software is limited to a few high-end processors and is intended for applications that need massive multi-processing.) Before the release of Microsoft Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop programs including 2007 Office and Visual Studio 2005 were offered only in 32-bit editions, which can nevertheless be used on x64 platforms. The new generation of Office 2010 offers significant enhancements. As an example, Microsoft Office Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit version that permits you to create spreadsheets with huge datasets that are not limited to the 2-Gbyte file size imposed by 32-bit releases of Excel.
Microsoft offers native x64 versions of key Microsoft Server platforms, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server, Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006, plus System Center Operations Manager. Windows Server x64 versions are priced and licensed the same as their 32-bit editions, so typically you pay nothing more for 64-bit server operating systems or hardware.
For workstations, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price 64-bit versions that provide high stability, scalability, and throughput. As with all migrations from 32-bit to 64-bit platforms, the move up can't be carried out seamlessly. Each desktop PC and server needs a clean setup that entails reinstalling application software, backing up and recovering data, and installing 64-bit drivers. On the other hand, for most in-place workstations, and for every PC powered by XP, even the 64-bit version of Windows 7 or Windows 8 requires you to carry out a "from scratch" installation. Consequently, there will never be a better time to migrate to 64-bit computing on the desktop, since it will require little extra effort.
How Progent Can Help Your Business to Upgrade to 64-bit Processing
Besides helping your organization to evaluate the practical advantages, expenses, and technical variables attached to upgrading to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you plan, document, implement, administer, and troubleshoot 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 that you want to keep as well as the latest 64-bit versions of software you plan to run. If moving to Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your x64 migration plan, Progent's certified Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 testing and migration consultants can help your company to determine which desktop hardware and applications can or ought to be preserved, and outline an upgrade process that is the least disturbing to your business productivity.
Additional ways Progent's consultants can assist your business to migrate to 64-bit computing include: