Preparing for 64-bit Computing
64-bit Upgrade SupportWith the release of Microsoft Windows 7, the business case for migrating to 64-bit processing has never seemed better. However, many network administrators are understandably reluctant to take on a sizable migration task when the main benefits — improved stability, capacity, and performance — are too vague to evaluate with precision. Being a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of background helping businesses to implement system-wide migrations, Progent can help you to understand the risks and rewards of moving to 64-bit processing, create an economical upgrade scheme that reduces operational interruptions, and provide cost-effective, expert remote engineering help as you update the system software powering your existing servers and desktops.

For the majority of office IT systems, 64-bit processing is a great unexploited power source. Both Intel and AMD, the leading CPU makers, have been incorporating 64-bit capability in their mainstream processors for years, with the result that all classes of business computing hardware including notebooks, desktop computers, engineering workstations and advanced servers already possess the ability to operate in 64-bit format. Yet the majority of these devices continue to run 32-bit software platforms.

The main cause for this widespread hesitation to join the 64-bit millennium is that the real benefit for upgrading existing computers has seemed to be modest in comparison to the work needed. There is no automatic path to upgrade from a 32 to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade requires a clean install, which calls for reinstalling current programs, saving and recovering data files, and installing new drivers. This requires thoughtful planning to do efficiently. Furthermore, most office productivity software are still available only in 32-bit editions, so what's the advantage?

Advantages of Upgrading to 64-bit Processing
The benefits of 64-bit over 32-bit processing may appear to be subtle and hard to define precisely, but they are real. The RAM management techniques utilized by 32-bit systems are basically an engineering afterthought that limits stability. Memory-starved applications are often not able to utilize existing RAM because the O/S cannot assign it efficiently. This results in programs freezing or performing erratically even when a computer appears to have plenty of available RAM. Also, 64-bit software platforms allow far more addressable RAM than 32-bit ones and process more information per CPU cycle. You can also switch from one RAM-hungry application to another faster when you are running in a 64-bit environment. Basically, 64-bit processing makes environments more stable, more expandable, and more efficient, which makes businesses more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Support
Microsoft's ďx64Ē technology works with the 64-bit processors found in virtually all computers currently installed in business IT systems. (Microsoft's "Itanium" initiative is restricted to special high-end CPUs and is designed for applications that require massive multi-processing.) Before the release of Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop applications such as 2007 Office and Visual Studio 2005 were offered solely in 32-bit editions, which can nevertheless be used on x64 Windows. The latest family of Microsoft Office 2010 offers significant improvements. As an example, Microsoft Excel 2010 is available in a 64-bit edition that allows you to build spreadsheets with enormous databases that are not restricted to the 2-Gbyte maximum file size that hampers 32-bit editions of Excel.

Microsoft offers true x64 editions of many Microsoft Server platforms, including Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and 2003, SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Exchange Server 2007, Commerce Server 2007, Microsoft BizTalk Server, plus System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server 64-bit editions are priced the same as 32-bit editions, so in most circumstances it costs nothing extra for 64-bit server operating systems or hardware.

For desktop PCs, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price 64-bit editions that provide high stability, capacity, and performance. As with all upgrades from 32- to 64-bit operating systems, the move up canít be carried out seamlessly. Every workstation and server needs a clean installation that entails reinstalling applications, saving and recovering data, and installing 64-bit device drivers. On the other hand, for typical in-place desktop PCs, and for all PCs running Windows XP, any edition of Windows 7 or 8 requires you to perform a "from scratch" installation. This being the case, there will never be a better opportunity to migrate to 64-bit computing on the workstation, since it will require scarcely any additional work.

How Progent Can Assist You to Upgrade to 64-bit Computing
In addition to helping you to understand the business advantages, expenses, and technical risks attached to migrating to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you plan, document, carry out, manage, and repair a network-wide migration to 64-bit server and desktop OS software and business applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit infrastructure to verify that it supports all of the important 32-bit programs that you want to retain as well as the latest 64-bit versions of software you wish to install. If moving to Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your 64-bit upgrade plan, Progent's certified Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 evaluation and migration consultants can assist you to determine which workstation computers and programs can or ought to be preserved, and outline a migration process that is the least disturbing to your network operations.

Other ways Progent can assist your business to upgrade to 64-bit processing include:

  • Progent's experience providing remote network consulting and support can save your business effort and expense over the course of your x64 upgrade, and Progent's experience cooperating with in-house support personnel and providing technical knowledge transfer to them can increase the efficiency of your support team.

  • Progent's certified Cisco CCIE network engineers can make sure that your network infrastructure is configured to support your 64-bit computing environment, that it is easy to monitor, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it provides a high level of data protection and reliability.

  • Progent's business continuity consulting professionals can assist you in creating and testing a business continuity plan that incorporates your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) engineering professionals can assist you to deploy Microsoft System Center SCDPM to provide automated remote backup with the capability of fast system recovery.

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, and GIAC network security specialists can help you create a company-wide security plan that implements some of the new security mechanisms 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 standards.

  • Progent's virtualization experts can show you how to use 64-bit virtual server technology to save money on hardware, simplify administration, improve reliability, cut hosting costs, and speed up recovery time in the event of a catastrophic breakdown.

  • Progent's live online education can help bring both your network support staff and your office workers up to speed rapidly and cost-effectively by providing online virtual training customized for your computing requirements and business processes.
Contact Progent for Help Migrating to x64 Computing
To learn additional information about how Progent can assist your business to upgrade to x64 computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.