Preparing for 64-bit Computing
64-bit Migration SupportThanks to the availability of Windows 7, the business case for upgrading to 64-bit processing has never been stronger. However, many IT administrators are predictably hesitant to launch a major upgrade task when the main advantages — increased stability, capacity, and speed — are too intangible to quantify precisely. As a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of experience assisting businesses to implement system-wide migration projects, Progent can help you to understand the costs and rewards of moving to 64-bit computing, design an economical upgrade strategy that reduces operational interruptions, and deliver cost-effective, high-level online engineering help while you update the system software powering your current computers.

For most office networks, 64-bit processing is a great unexploited resource. Intel and AMD, the leading CPU makers, have been delivering 64-bit capability in their commodity processors for years, with the result that all types of business computing hardware including notebooks, desktop PCs, high-powered workstations and advanced servers now possess the architecture to run in 64-bit format. However most of these in-place computers continue to host 32-bit software platforms.

The main cause for this widespread reluctance to join the 64-bit revolution is that the business advantage for updating existing computers has seemed to be modest in relation to the work required. There is no seamless path to migrate from a 32 to a 64-bit OS. The upgrade requires a clean installation, which calls for reinstalling current applications, backing up and recovering data, and configuring new drivers. This requires thoughtful planning to carry out efficiently. Furthermore, many popular desktop applications are still offered only in 32-bit versions, so where's the advantage?

Benefits of Moving Up to 64-bit Computing
The advantages of 64-bit over 32-bit processing may seem vague and hard to define precisely, yet they are real. The RAM memory allocation techniques used in 32-bit platforms are basically an engineering band-aid that limits stability. Memory-hungry programs are sometimes unable to utilize existing memory because the O/S is unable to allocate it effectively. This can be the cause of programs shutting down or executing erratically even when a computer appears to have ample unused memory. Also, 64-bit software platforms allow much more addressable RAM than 32-bit systems and process more information per CPU cycle. You can also switch from one RAM-hungry program to another faster when using a 64-bit system. Fundamentally, 64-bit processing makes environments more reliable, more expandable, and faster, which in turn makes businesses more productive.

Microsoft's x64 Software
Microsoft's “x64” software supports the 64-bit CPUs found in virtually all servers and desktop PCs currently installed in office networks. (Microsoft's "Itanium" software is limited to special high-end processors and is intended for environments that need massive multi-processing.) Before the release of Microsoft Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft client programs such as 2007 Office and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were offered solely in 32-bit editions, which can still be run on x64 Windows. The latest generation of Microsoft Office delivers dramatic improvements. For example, Microsoft Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit edition that allows you to create spreadsheets with enormous datasets that are not restricted by the 2-Gbyte file size imposed by previous editions of Office Excel.

Microsoft offers true x64 versions of key Microsoft Server platforms, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Commerce Server, BizTalk Server, as well as Operations Manager. Windows Server x64 editions are priced and licensed identically to their 32-bit versions, so in most circumstances it costs nothing extra for 64-bit server operating systems or machines.

For client computers, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost x64 editions that provide advanced stability, scalability, and performance. As with all migrations from 32- to 64-bit platforms, the upgrade can’t be done without effort. Each workstation and server needs a clean installation that involves reinstalling application software, backing up and restoring data files, and configuring 64-bit device drivers. On the other hand, for most current workstations, and for all PCs powered by XP, even the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 requires you to perform a clean install. Consequently, there has never been a better opportunity to upgrade to x64 processing on the desktop, since it will require little extra effort.

How Progent Can Assist Your Business to Migrate to 64-bit Processing
In addition to helping you to evaluate the practical benefits, expenses, and technical risks associated with upgrading to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you plan, document, carry out, administer, and repair a system-wide migration to 64-bit server and desktop operating systems and applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit environment to make sure it handles all of the key 32-bit applications which you want to retain as well as the new 64-bit versions of software you wish to install. If moving to Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your x64 upgrade strategy, Progent's Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 planning and upgrade experts can assist you to decide which desktop computers and applications can or should be preserved, and design a migration process that is minimally disruptive to your network productivity.

Other ways Progent can assist you to upgrade to x64 processing include:

  • Progent's expertise delivering remote computer consulting and support can save you time and money over the course of your x64 upgrade, and Progent's background working with in-house IT staffs and providing technical knowledge transfer to them can increase the effectiveness of your network support staff.

  • Progent's Cisco CCIE network engineers can make sure that your network infrastructure is optimized to support your x64 processing solution, that it is simple to monitor, administer, and troubleshoot, and that it offers a high level of data protection and robustness.

  • Progent's disaster recovery consulting professionals can help you in creating and validating a business continuity plan that includes your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center SCDPM support experts can help you to deploy System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to provide automated remote backup with the advantage of rapid data recovery.

  • Progent's CISM and CISA certified security specialists can assist you create a comprehensive security strategy that deploys some of the new protection mechanisms incorporated into x64 server platforms. Progent can also perform security vulnerability checking to evaluate or validate your company's adherence to industry or government security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization consultants can help you utilize 64-bit virtual server technology to save money on equipment, streamline management, enhance reliability, lower colocation expenses, and speed up restoration time in case of a catastrophic breakdown.

  • Progent's online instruction can help get your IT management team and your desktop employees up to speed rapidly and affordably by delivering interactive online webinars specialized for your network environment and operational processes.
Contact Progent to Get Help Upgrading to 64-bit Processing
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 go to Contact Progent.