For most office IT systems, 64-bit computing is a giant unexploited power source. Both Intel and AMD, the leading CPU makers, have been incorporating 64-bit ability in their mainstream CPUs for years, with the result that all classes of business computing hardware such as laptops, desktop computers, engineering workstations and back-office servers now have the ability to run in 64-bit format. However most of these in-place devices still run 32-bit operating systems.
The primary reason for this common hesitation to join the 64-bit millennium is that the business benefit for updating existing systems has appeared to be modest in relation to the work required. There is no automatic path to migrate from a 32 to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade demands a clean installation, which means reinstalling current applications, saving and recovering data, and configuring new drivers. This requires thorough planning to do economically. Meanwhile, many popular desktop productivity software are currently available only in 32-bit editions, so where's the advantage?
Advantages of Moving Up to 64-bit Processing
The benefits of 64-bit vs. 32-bit computing may appear to be vague and hard to quantify, yet they are significant. The memory management schemes used in 32-bit OS platforms are essentially an engineering band-aid that undermines system stability. RAM-hungry applications are sometimes unable to utilize existing memory since the operating system is unable to allocate it efficiently. This results in programs freezing or running erratically even when a computer seems to have plenty of unused memory. Also, 64-bit operating systems support much more addressable memory than 32-bit systems and process more data per CPU cycle. You can also switch from one RAM-hungry application to another more quickly while using a 64-bit environment. Fundamentally, 64-bit computing makes systems more stable, more expandable, and faster, which in turn makes businesses more competitive.
Microsoft's 64-bit Software
Microsoft's “x64” software supports the 64-bit CPUs found in virtually all computers currently installed in business IT systems. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" initiative is restricted to special high-end processors and is designed for environments that need large-scale multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Office 2010, most Microsoft desktop programs including 2007 Office and Visual Studio 2005 were offered only in 32-bit versions, which can nevertheless be used on x64 Windows. The latest family of Microsoft Office 2010 offers dramatic improvements. As an example, Microsoft Office Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit edition that permits you to create spreadsheets with enormous datasets that are not limited to the 2-gigabyte maximum file size imposed by 32-bit releases of Excel.
Microsoft has developed native x64 editions of many Microsoft Server System products, including Microsoft Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server, BizTalk Server, plus System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server x64 editions are priced and licensed the same as their 32-bit counterparts, so in most circumstances you pay nothing extra for 64-bit server software or hardware.
For desktop PCs, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost 64-bit editions that provide high dependability, capacity, and throughput. As with all upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit operating systems, the upgrade can't be carried out without effort. Each workstation and server needs a clean installation that entails reinstalling application software, backing up and recovering data files, and installing 64-bit drivers. On the other hand, for typical in-place workstations, and for every PC running XP, even the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 requires you to perform a clean installation. Consequently, there has never been a better time to migrate to x64 processing on the desktop, since it will involve scarcely any extra work.
How Progent Can Help You to Migrate to 64-bit Processing
In addition to assisting you to evaluate the business advantages, expenses, and technical risks associated with upgrading to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you plan, document, carry out, 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 infrastructure to make sure it supports all of the important 32-bit programs which you want to retain plus the new 64-bit editions of applications you plan to run. If adopting Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your 64-bit migration plan, Progent's certified Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 testing and migration experts can assist your company to decide which workstation hardware and applications can or ought to be retained, and design a migration procedure that is minimally disturbing to your network productivity.
Other ways Progent can help your business to upgrade to 64-bit processing include: