With most office networks, 64-bit computing 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, so that all types of business computing hardware including notebooks, desktop computers, high-powered workstations and back-office servers already have the architecture to operate in 64-bit format. Yet most of these in-place computers continue to host 32-bit operating systems and applications.
The main reason for this widespread hesitation to join the 64-bit millennium is that the real benefit for updating existing computers has appeared to be modest in relation to the effort required. There is no seamless process to upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit OS. The upgrade requires a clean install, which calls for reinstalling existing programs, backing up and restoring data, and configuring new 64-bit drivers. This requires careful planning to do economically. Meanwhile, most office productivity software are still available only in 32-bit editions, so what's the benefit?
Benefits of Moving Up to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit vs. 32-bit processing may appear to be subtle and hard to quantify, yet they are significant. The RAM management schemes utilized by 32-bit platforms are essentially a technical afterthought that limits stability. RAM-hungry applications are often not able to access available RAM since the O/S is unable to assign it effectively. This can be the cause of programs shutting down or performing fitfully even though a computer seems to have plenty of unused memory. In addition, 64-bit software platforms support much more addressable RAM than 32-bit ones and crunch twice as much data per clock cycle. You can also jump from one memory-intensive application to another faster when you are using a 64-bit environment. Basically, 64-bit processing makes environments more reliable, more expandable, and faster, which in turn makes businesses more competitive.
Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Support
Microsoft's “x64” software supports the 64-bit processors used in virtually all servers and desktop PCs currently installed in office networks. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" support is restricted to a few advanced CPUs and is intended for applications that require massive multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Microsoft Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop applications including 2007 Office and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were offered only in 32-bit versions, which can nevertheless be used on x64 Windows. The latest generation of Office 2010 offers significant improvements. As an example, Microsoft Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit edition that permits you to build spreadsheets with huge datasets that are not restricted to the 2-Gbyte file size imposed by previous editions of Microsoft Office Excel.
Microsoft offers true x64 versions of key Microsoft Server platforms, such as Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server, BizTalk Server 2006, as well as System Center Operations Manager. Windows Server 64-bit editions are priced and licensed identically to 32-bit versions, so typically it costs nothing extra for 64-bit server software or machines.
For desktop PCs, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost x64 editions that provide advanced stability, scalability, and throughput. As with all upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit platforms, the move up can't be carried out seamlessly. Each desktop PC and server needs a clean installation that entails reinstalling application software, backing up and recovering data, and installing 64-bit drivers. In fact, for typical current workstations, and for every PC powered by Microsoft Windows XP, even the 64-bit edition of Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows 8 requires you to perform a "from scratch" install. Consequently, there has never been a better opportunity to migrate to x64 processing on the workstation, since it will require little additional work.
How Progent Can Help Your Business to Upgrade to 64-bit Processing
Besides assisting you to evaluate the practical benefits, expenses, and technical risks attached to upgrading to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you design, document, implement, manage, and troubleshoot a network-wide move to 64-bit server and desktop OS software and business applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit environment to verify that it handles all of the important 32-bit programs that you intend to retain plus the new 64-bit editions of software you wish to run. If adopting Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your x64 migration plan, Progent's certified Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 planning and migration consultants can assist you to determine which desktop computers and applications can or should be retained, and design a migration procedure that is the least disruptive to your business productivity.
Additional ways Progent can help your business to upgrade to x64 processing include: