Preparing for 64-bit Computing
64-bit Upgrade SupportThanks to the availability of Microsoft Windows 7, the business justification for upgrading to 64-bit computing has never seemed stronger. However, many network administrators are understandably reluctant to take on a sizable migration project when the main advantages — improved stability, scalability, and performance — are excessively intangible to evaluate precisely. As a Microsoft Partner with years of experience helping businesses to implement system-wide upgrades, Progent can help you to assess the risks and rewards of adopting 64-bit processing, design an economical upgrade scheme that minimizes productivity disruptions, and provide affordable, expert online engineering help as you update the system software running your existing servers and desktops.

For the majority of office IT systems, 64-bit computing is a giant untapped resource. Both Intel and AMD, the top CPU chip makers, have been delivering 64-bit capability in their commodity CPUs for years, so that all classes of business computers including notebooks, desktop PCs, high-powered workstations and advanced servers already possess the ability to operate in 64-bit mode. Yet most of these in-place computers continue to run 32-bit software platforms.

The main cause for this common hesitation to join the 64-bit revolution is that the business benefit for upgrading in-place computers has seemed to be small in relation to the work required. There is no seamless process to upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade requires a clean installation, which means reinstalling current applications, backing up and recovering data files, and installing new 64-bit drivers. This requires thoughtful planning to do efficiently. Furthermore, most desktop applications are still available only in 32-bit versions, so what's the advantage?

Benefits of Moving Up to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit over 32-bit computing may appear to be subtle and hard to quantify, but they are real. The RAM memory management schemes used in 32-bit platforms are essentially a technical band-aid that limits system stability. Memory-starved programs are sometimes unable to utilize existing memory because the operating system cannot assign it effectively. This can be the cause of programs freezing or executing erratically even though a computer seems to have plenty of available RAM. In addition, 64-bit software platforms allow far more addressable memory than 32-bit systems and process more information per CPU cycle. You can also switch from one RAM-intensive program to another more quickly when you are using a 64-bit system. Fundamentally, 64-bit computing makes environments more reliable, more expandable, and more efficient, which makes companies more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Processing Support
Microsoft's “x64” technology works with the 64-bit CPUs used in most computers currently installed in office networks. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" support is restricted to a few advanced Intel/AMD CPUs and is intended for applications that require large-scale multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Microsoft Office 2010, most Microsoft desktop applications such as Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were available solely in 32-bit editions, which can still be used on x64 Windows. The latest family of Office delivers dramatic improvements. For example, Microsoft Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit edition that permits you to create spreadsheets with huge databases that are not limited by the 2-Gbyte file size imposed by previous releases of Microsoft Office Excel.

Microsoft offers native x64 versions of many Microsoft Server System products, such as Windows Server 2008 and 2003, SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Exchange Server 2007, Commerce Server 2007, Microsoft BizTalk Server, as well as Operations Manager. Windows Server x64 editions are priced identically to 32-bit counterparts, so ordinarily it costs nothing extra for 64-bit server software or machines.

For workstations, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price x64 versions that offer advanced dependability, scalability, and performance. Like all upgrades from 32- to 64-bit platforms, the move up can’t be carried out seamlessly. Each desktop PC and server needs a clean installation that involves reconfiguring application software, saving and recovering data, and configuring 64-bit device drivers. On the other hand, for typical in-place workstations, and for all PCs powered by Microsoft Windows XP, even the 64-bit edition of Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows 8 will require you to perform a "from scratch" install. This being the case, there will never be a better time to migrate to x64 processing on the desktop, since it will involve scarcely any extra effort.

How Progent Can Help Your Business to Upgrade to 64-bit Processing
In addition to helping you to evaluate the business benefits, expenses, and technical risks attached to upgrading to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you design, document, carry out, manage, and repair a system-wide move to 64-bit server and client OS software and applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit infrastructure to make sure it handles all of the important 32-bit applications which you intend to keep as well as the latest 64-bit versions of applications you plan to run. If adopting Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your 64-bit upgrade strategy, Progent's certified Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 testing and migration experts can help you to decide which workstation computers and applications can or should be preserved, and outline an upgrade process that is the least disturbing to your network operations.

Other ways Progent can help you to migrate to 64-bit processing include:

  • Progent's expertise delivering online computer consulting and troubleshooting can save you time and money over the course of your x64 migration, and Progent's experience cooperating with internal IT personnel and providing technical knowledge sharing to them can increase the effectiveness of your network support staff.

  • Progent's Cisco CCIE network consultants can verify that your network infrastructure is configured to support your x64 computing solution, that it is simple to track, manage, and repair, and that it provides a high level of data protection and robustness.

  • Progent's business continuity consulting professionals can help you in developing and testing a workplace recovery strategy that incorporates your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center SCDPM support experts can assist you to configure Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to support near-continuous remote backup with the advantage of fast data recovery.

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, GIAC, and CISA certified network security experts can help you develop a company-wide security plan that deploys some of the new protection technologies included with 64-bit servers. Progent can also perform network security vulnerability checking to evaluate or validate your company's compliance with mandated security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization experts can help you utilize 64-bit virtual server solutions to conserve equipment, simplify management, improve dependability, lower hosting costs, and reduce recovery time in the event of a catastrophic breakdown.

  • Progent's live online instruction can help get your IT support team and your desktop workers up to date quickly and cost-effectively by providing online webinars specialized for your network requirements and business procedures.
Contact Progent for Support for Migrating to x64 Computing
To find out additional details about how Progent's consultants can help you to migrate to x64 processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.