Preparing for 64-bit Processing
64-bit Upgrade SupportThanks to the availability of Microsoft Windows 7, the business justification for migrating to 64-bit processing has never been better. However, many IT managers are predictably reluctant to take on a major upgrade project when the primary advantages — improved stability, scalability, and speed — are too intangible to quantify with precision. Being a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of experience helping companies to implement system-wide migrations, Progent can assist you to understand the risks and rewards of adopting 64-bit computing, design an efficient migration strategy that reduces operational interruptions, and provide cost-effective, high-level online consulting as you upgrade the system software powering your existing servers and desktops.

With most business networks, 64-bit processing is a great untapped power source. Intel and AMD, the top CPU chip manufacturers, have been delivering 64-bit ability in their commodity CPUs for years, with the result that all classes of business computers including laptops, desktop computers, high-powered workstations and back-office servers already have the architecture to run in 64-bit format. Yet the majority of these in-place devices continue to host 32-bit operating systems.

The primary reason for this common hesitation to join the 64-bit revolution is that the real advantage for upgrading existing computers has seemed to be small in relation to the work required. There is no automatic process to migrate from a 32 to a 64-bit OS. The enhancement requires a clean installation, which calls for reinstalling current programs, backing up and recovering data, and installing new 64-bit drivers. This requires careful planning to carry out efficiently. Furthermore, many popular office productivity software are still available only in 32-bit versions, so where's the advantage?

Benefits of Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit vs. 32-bit computing may seem subtle and hard to define precisely, yet they are significant. The RAM memory allocation schemes utilized by 32-bit OS platforms are essentially an engineering band-aid that undermines stability. RAM-starved programs are sometimes not allowed to access free memory because the O/S cannot allocate it efficiently. This can be the cause of programs shutting down or performing fitfully even when a computer seems to have plenty of available memory. In addition, 64-bit operating systems support far more physical memory than 32-bit ones and crunch twice as much data per clock cycle. You can also switch from one memory-hungry application to another more quickly when you are using a 64-bit system. Basically, 64-bit computing makes environments more stable, more scalable, and faster, which in turn makes businesses more competitive.

Microsoft's x64 Support
Microsoft's ďx64Ē software works with the 64-bit CPUs found in virtually all servers and desktop PCs currently deployed in business IT systems. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" support is limited to a few high-end Intel and AMD CPUs processors and is intended for environments that need massive multi-processing.) Before the availability of Microsoft Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop programs such as 2007 Office and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were offered only in 32-bit versions, which can nevertheless be used on x64 platforms. The new family of Office offers dramatic improvements. For example, Excel 2010 is available in a 64-bit edition that permits you to build spreadsheets with enormous datasets that are not limited by the 2-Gbyte maximum file size that hampers previous editions of Office Excel.

Microsoft offers native x64 editions of key Microsoft Server System products, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and 2003, SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Commerce Server 2007, BizTalk Server, as well as System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server x64 editions are priced and licensed the same as 32-bit counterparts, so typically it costs nothing extra for 64-bit server operating systems or hardware.

For workstations, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost 64-bit editions that provide high dependability, capacity, and performance. Like all upgrades from 32- to 64-bit operating systems, the move up canít be carried out without effort. Each desktop PC and server requires a clean setup that involves reinstalling applications, saving and restoring data, and configuring 64-bit drivers. In fact, for most in-place desktop PCs, and for every PC powered by Microsoft Windows XP, any edition of Windows 7 or Windows 8 requires you to perform a "from scratch" installation. This being the case, there has never been a better time to migrate to 64-bit processing on the desktop, since it will require little additional work.

How Progent Can Assist You to Upgrade to 64-bit Computing
Besides assisting your organization to evaluate the business advantages, expenses, and technical risks attached to upgrading to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you design, document, implement, administer, and troubleshoot a system-wide migration to 64-bit server and desktop OS software and business applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit environment to make sure it handles all of the important 32-bit applications which you want to keep plus the latest 64-bit editions of applications you plan to install. If moving to Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your 64-bit upgrade strategy, Progent's Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 evaluation and migration experts can assist your company to determine which desktop computers and programs can or should be preserved, and design a migration process that is the least disturbing to your network operations.

Other ways Progent can help you to upgrade to x64 computing include:

  • Progent's experience delivering remote computer consulting and troubleshooting can save you time and money over the course of your 64-bit upgrade, and Progent's background working with internal IT personnel and delivering technical information transfer to them can improve the efficiency of your support team.

  • Progent's Cisco CCIE network engineers can make sure that your network infrastructure is optimized to support your 64-bit processing solution, that it is easy to monitor, administer, and repair, and that it provides a high level of data protection and fault tolerance.

  • Progent's business continuity engineers can help you in creating and testing a workplace recovery strategy that incorporates your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center SCDPM engineering professionals can help you to configure Microsoft System Center SCDPM to provide automated online backup with the capability of fast data restoration.

  • Progent's CISM and CISA certified network security specialists can assist you develop a comprehensive security plan that deploys some of the powerful security technologies included with x64 servers. Progent can also carry out network security vulnerability checking to evaluate or confirm your network's adherence to mandated security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization consultants can show you how to utilize 64-bit virtual server technology to save money on hardware, simplify management, improve reliability, lower colocation and hosting expenses, and speed up restoration time in the event of a catastrophic breakdown.

  • Progent's live online education can help get your network support team and your office employees up to date rapidly and affordably by delivering online webinars customized for your computing requirements and operational processes.
Contact Progent to Get Help Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
To find out additional details about how Progent's consultants can assist your business to upgrade to 64-bit processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.