Preparing for 64-bit Processing
64-bit Upgrade SupportWith the release of Microsoft Windows 7, the business justification for migrating to 64-bit computing has never seemed more compelling. Still, most IT administrators are understandably hesitant to launch a major migration task when the main advantages — improved stability, scalability, and performance — are excessively intangible to quantify with precision. As a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of background helping companies to carry out system-wide upgrades, Progent can help you to assess the risks and benefits of moving to 64-bit computing, create an economical upgrade strategy that reduces productivity disruptions, and deliver affordable, high-level remote engineering help while you update the software running your existing servers and desktops.

With the majority of business networks, 64-bit processing is a giant untapped power source. Both Intel and AMD, the leading CPU chip makers, have been incorporating 64-bit ability in their commodity CPUs for years, with the result that all classes of business computing hardware including notebooks, desktop PCs, engineering workstations and advanced servers already have the ability to operate in 64-bit format. Yet the majority of these devices still run 32-bit operating systems and applications.

The main reason for this widespread hesitation to participate in the 64-bit revolution is that the real advantage for updating in-place computers has seemed to be small in comparison to the work needed. There is no automatic path to upgrade from a 32 to a 64-bit OS. The upgrade requires a clean installation, which calls for reinstalling existing programs, backing up and restoring data, and configuring new drivers. This demands thorough planning to do efficiently. Meanwhile, most office applications are still available only in 32-bit editions, so what's the advantage?

Advantages of Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
The advantages of 64-bit over 32-bit computing may appear to be subtle and hard to define precisely, yet they are real. The memory management schemes used in 32-bit platforms are basically an engineering band-aid that undermines stability. RAM-starved applications are sometimes not allowed to access free RAM because the O/S is unable to allocate it efficiently. This results in software shutting down or running erratically even though a machine seems to have ample available memory. In addition, 64-bit software platforms allow far more physical RAM than 32-bit systems and process more data per CPU cycle. You can also go from one memory-hungry application to another more quickly while using a 64-bit system. Basically, 64-bit computing makes environments more stable, more expandable, and more efficient, which makes companies more productive.

Microsoft's x64 Support
Microsoft's ďx64Ē technology supports the 64-bit processors used in most servers and desktop PCs currently installed in business IT environments. (Microsoft's "Itanium" technology is limited to special high-end processors and is designed for environments 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 available solely in 32-bit versions, which can nevertheless be used on x64 Windows. The latest generation of Office delivers significant improvements. For example, Microsoft Excel 2010 is available in a 64-bit edition that permits you to create spreadsheets with huge datasets that are not limited to the 2-Gbyte file size that hampers 32-bit releases of Office Excel.

Microsoft offers true x64 versions of many Microsoft Server System products, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and 2003, SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Commerce Server, Microsoft BizTalk Server, plus Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server 64-bit versions are priced and licensed identically to their 32-bit editions, so ordinarily it costs nothing more for 64-bit server software or machines.

For workstations, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost x64 editions that offer high dependability, capacity, and throughput. Like all upgrades from 32- to 64-bit operating systems, the move up canít be carried out seamlessly. Each workstation and server needs a clean setup that entails reconfiguring application software, backing up and recovering data, and installing 64-bit device drivers. In fact, for most current workstations, and for every PC running Microsoft Windows XP, even the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 requires you to carry out a "from scratch" installation. Consequently, there has never been a better time to upgrade to x64 computing on the desktop, since it will require scarcely any extra work.

How Progent Can Help You to Upgrade to 64-bit Processing
Besides helping you to evaluate the practical advantages, expenses, and technical risks attached to migrating to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you plan, document, carry out, manage, and repair a system-wide move to 64-bit server and client OS software and applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit infrastructure to verify that it supports all of the key 32-bit applications that you intend to keep as well as the new 64-bit versions of applications you plan to run. If adopting Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your x64 migration strategy, Progent's Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 testing and migration consultants can assist your company to determine which workstation hardware and programs can or should be retained, and outline an upgrade process that is the least disruptive to your network productivity.

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

  • Progent's experience providing remote computer consulting and troubleshooting can save your business effort and money during your x64 migration, and Progent's experience cooperating with internal support personnel and delivering technical knowledge transfer to them can improve the efficiency of your network support team.

  • Progent's certified Cisco CCIE network consultants can verify that your network infrastructure is optimized to accommodate your x64 processing solution, that it is easy to monitor, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it provides a high level of data protection and fault tolerance.

  • Progent's disaster recovery consulting professionals can help you in creating and testing a business continuity plan that incorporates your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) consulting experts can help you to configure System Center SCDPM to provide automated online backup with the advantage of rapid data restoration.

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, GIAC, and CISA security consultants can assist you create a comprehensive security plan that implements some of the powerful security mechanisms incorporated into 64-bit servers. Progent can also carry out network security vulnerability testing to assess or verify your network's compliance with mandated security standards.

  • Progent's virtualization engineers can help you benefit from 64-bit virtual server solutions to conserve hardware, streamline management, improve dependability, lower colocation and hosting costs, and speed up restoration time in case of a disaster.

  • Progent's live online training classes can help bring your network support staff and your office workers up to speed quickly and affordably by delivering remote virtual training customized for your network environment and operational processes.
Contact Progent to Get Consulting Support for Upgrading to x64 Processing
To find out additional information about how Progent's engineers can help your business to upgrade to 64-bit processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.