Introduction to 64-bit Computing
Thanks to the release of Microsoft Windows 7, the business justification for migrating to 64-bit computing has never been better. Still, many network administrators are understandably hesitant to take on a significant upgrade project when the main benefits — improved stability, scalability, and performance — are excessively intangible to evaluate with precision. Being a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of experience assisting companies to carry out system-wide migrations, Progent can help you to understand the risks and benefits of adopting 64-bit computing, design an economical migration scheme that reduces business disruptions, and provide affordable, high-level remote engineering help as you update the software powering your current computers.
For the majority of office networks, 64-bit computing is a giant unexploited resource. Both Intel and AMD, the leading CPU chip makers, have been delivering 64-bit capability in their commodity CPUs for years, with the result that all classes of business computers including laptops, desktop PCs, high-powered workstations and back-office servers already have the architecture to operate in 64-bit format. Yet the majority of these devices continue to host 32-bit operating systems and applications.
The primary cause for this common hesitation to join the 64-bit revolution is that the business benefit for updating in-place computers has appeared to be small in comparison to the effort required. There is no automatic process to upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system. The enhancement demands a clean installation, which calls for reinstalling current programs, backing up and recovering data, and installing new drivers. This demands thoughtful planning to do economically. Meanwhile, most office productivity software are still available only in 32-bit editions, so where's the benefit?
Advantages of Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit over 32-bit processing may appear to be subtle and hard to quantify, yet they are significant. The RAM allocation schemes used in 32-bit OS platforms are basically an engineering band-aid that undermines stability. Memory-hungry applications are often not allowed to access existing memory since the operating system is unable to allocate it effectively. This can be the cause of software shutting down or performing erratically even when a computer appears to have ample unused RAM. Also, 64-bit operating systems allow much more addressable RAM than 32-bit ones and crunch twice as much information per CPU cycle. You can also switch from one memory-intensive application to another faster when you are using a 64-bit environment. Basically, 64-bit computing makes systems more stable, more scalable, and more efficient, which in turn makes companies more competitive.
Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Software
Microsoft's ďx64Ē technology works with the 64-bit CPUs used in most computers now deployed in office networks. (Microsoft's "Itanium" technology is restricted to a few advanced processors and is designed for environments that need massive multi-processing.) Before the release of Office 2010, most Microsoft client programs such as 2007 Office and Visual Studio 2005 were available solely in 32-bit editions, which can nevertheless be run on x64 Windows. The latest generation of Microsoft Office 2010 delivers dramatic enhancements. As an example, Office Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit version that allows you to build spreadsheets with huge datasets that are not restricted by the 2-Gbyte maximum file size imposed by 32-bit editions of Microsoft Office Excel.
Microsoft offers true x64 versions of key Microsoft Server System products, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server, Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006, plus Operations Manager. Windows Server 64-bit versions are priced and licensed the same as their 32-bit versions, so ordinarily you pay nothing extra for 64-bit server software or hardware.
For desktop PCs, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price x64 editions that provide high stability, capacity, and performance. As with all migrations from 32- to 64-bit platforms, the move up canít be done without effort. Every desktop PC and server requires a clean setup that involves reconfiguring application software, backing up and recovering data files, and configuring 64-bit drivers. On the other hand, for most current desktop PCs, and for all PCs running Microsoft Windows XP, even the 64-bit version of Windows 7 or 8 requires you to perform a "from scratch" install. This being the case, there has never been a better opportunity to upgrade to 64-bit processing on the desktop, since it will require scarcely any extra effort.
How Progent Can Assist You to Upgrade to 64-bit Processing
In addition to helping your organization to understand the practical advantages, costs, and technical risks attached to migrating to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you design, document, carry out, manage, and troubleshoot a system-wide move to 64-bit server and desktop operating systems and business applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit infrastructure to make sure it handles all of the key 32-bit applications that you intend to retain plus the new 64-bit versions of applications you plan to run. If adopting Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your 64-bit upgrade strategy, Progent's Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 planning and upgrade experts can assist your company to decide which desktop computers and applications can or ought to be retained, and design an upgrade process that is minimally disruptive to your network productivity.
Other ways Progent can assist your business to migrate to x64 computing include:
Contact Progent for Support for Migrating to x64 Computing
- Progent's expertise delivering remote network support services can save your business time and money during your 64-bit migration, and Progent's experience working with internal support personnel and providing technical knowledge sharing to them can increase the effectiveness of your network support staff.
- Progent's certified Cisco CCIE network engineers can make sure that your network architecture is configured to accommodate your 64-bit processing solution, that it is easy to track, manage, and repair, and that it offers a high degree of data protection and robustness.
- Progent's disaster recovery consulting professionals can help you in developing and testing a business continuity plan that incorporates your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center SCDPM consulting experts can help you to deploy System Center SCDPM to support automated online backup with the capability of rapid system recovery.
- Progent's CISM, CISSP, GIAC, and CISA security consultants can help you develop a comprehensive security strategy that deploys some of the new security mechanisms incorporated into 64-bit server platforms. Progent can also perform security vulnerability testing to evaluate or verify your company's compliance with industry or government security requirements.
- Progent's virtualization consultants can show you how to benefit from 64-bit virtual server technology to save money on hardware, simplify management, enhance fault tolerance, lower colocation and hosting costs, and reduce restoration time in case of a disaster.
- Progent's live online instruction can help bring your IT management team and your desktop workers up to date rapidly and cost-effectively by delivering remote virtual training specialized for your network requirements and business procedures.
To find out additional information about how Progent's consultants can assist you to migrate to 64-bit processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.