Introduction to 64-bit Computing
64-bit Migration SupportWith the availability of Windows 7, the business case for upgrading to 64-bit processing has never been more compelling. However, most IT administrators are predictably hesitant to launch a significant migration project when the main benefits — increased stability, scalability, and performance — are too intangible to evaluate with precision. As a Microsoft Partner with more than two decades of experience helping businesses to implement network-wide upgrade projects, Progent can assist your company to understand the costs and benefits of moving to 64-bit computing, create an economical upgrade strategy that minimizes productivity disruptions, and deliver cost-effective, high-level remote engineering help while you update the software running your existing servers and desktops.

With most business IT systems, 64-bit processing is a giant unexploited resource. Both Intel and AMD, the top CPU makers, have been delivering 64-bit capability in their commodity CPUs for years, with the result that all types of business computing hardware such as laptops, desktop PCs, engineering workstations and advanced servers already have the architecture to run in 64-bit mode. However most of these in-place computers still host 32-bit software platforms.

The main reason for this common reluctance to participate in the 64-bit revolution is that the real advantage for updating existing computers has seemed to be small in relation to the work needed. There is no seamless process to upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system. The enhancement requires a clean install, which calls for reinstalling current applications, saving and restoring data files, and configuring new drivers. This requires thoughtful planning to do economically. Meanwhile, many popular desktop productivity software are still available only in 32-bit versions, so where's the benefit?

Benefits of Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit vs. 32-bit processing may seem subtle and hard to define precisely, yet they are significant. The RAM memory allocation schemes utilized by 32-bit systems are essentially an engineering band-aid that undermines system stability. RAM-starved applications are often not allowed to access free RAM because the operating system cannot assign it efficiently. This can be the cause of programs freezing or running fitfully even though a computer appears to have plenty of available memory. In addition, 64-bit software platforms support much more physical memory than 32-bit systems and process twice as much information per clock cycle. You can also jump from one RAM-intensive application to another faster while using a 64-bit environment. Basically, 64-bit processing makes systems more reliable, more expandable, and more efficient, which makes businesses more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Software
Microsoft's “x64” technology works with the 64-bit CPUs used in most servers and desktop PCs now deployed in business IT environments. (Microsoft's "Itanium" initiative is restricted to a few advanced processors and is designed for environments that require massive multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Microsoft Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft client applications such as Microsoft Office 2007 and Visual Studio 2005 were offered only in 32-bit versions, which can still be run on x64 platforms. The latest generation of Microsoft Office delivers significant enhancements. For example, Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit edition that allows you to build spreadsheets with enormous databases that are not limited by the 2-gigabyte file size that hampers 32-bit versions of Microsoft Office Excel.

Microsoft offers true x64 versions of key Microsoft Server System products, including Microsoft Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server, BizTalk Server, as well as System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server x64 versions are priced and licensed identically to 32-bit editions, so in most circumstances you pay nothing extra for 64-bit server software or hardware.

For client computers, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost 64-bit versions that provide advanced stability, scalability, and throughput. As with all upgrades from 32- to 64-bit platforms, the move up can't be carried out without effort. Each desktop PC and server needs a clean installation that involves reconfiguring applications, saving and recovering data files, and installing 64-bit drivers. On the other hand, for most in-place workstations, and for every PC powered by XP, any version of Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows 8 requires you to carry out a "from scratch" installation. Consequently, there has never been a better time to upgrade to x64 processing on the desktop, since it will involve little additional work.

How Progent Can Assist You to Migrate to 64-bit Computing
In addition to helping your organization to evaluate the practical benefits, costs, and technical risks attached to upgrading to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you design, document, implement, manage, and troubleshoot a system-wide migration to 64-bit server and desktop operating systems and applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit infrastructure to verify that it supports all of the key 32-bit programs which 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 part of your x64 migration strategy, Progent's Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 evaluation and migration experts can help you to determine which workstation computers and programs can or ought to be preserved, and design a migration process that is the least disturbing to your business productivity.

Additional ways Progent can help your business to migrate to x64 processing include:

  • Progent's expertise providing remote computer support services can save you effort and expense during your x64 upgrade, and Progent's experience cooperating with in-house support personnel and delivering technical knowledge transfer to them can increase the efficiency of your support staff.

  • Progent's certified Cisco CCIE network consultants can verify that your network architecture is optimized to support your x64 processing environment, that it is easy to monitor, administer, and repair, and that it offers a high level of data protection and dependability.

  • Progent's business continuity engineers can assist you in creating and validating a workplace recovery plan that includes your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) consulting experts can assist you to deploy Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to support automated online backup with the capability of fast data recovery.

  • Progent's CISSP and GIAC network security consultants can assist you develop a comprehensive security strategy that implements some of the powerful protection mechanisms incorporated into x64 server platforms. Progent can also provide security vulnerability testing to assess or verify your network's adherence to industry or government security standards.

  • Progent's virtualization experts can help you utilize 64-bit virtual server technology to leverage your hardware resources, simplify administration, improve robustness, lower colocation expenses, and reduce restoration time in the event of a disaster.

  • Progent's live online instruction can help bring your IT support staff and your desktop workers up to date rapidly and cost-effectively by delivering online webinars specialized for your network requirements and business processes.
Contact Progent for Expertise in Upgrading to x64 Processing
To learn additional information about how Progent's consultants can assist your business to migrate to 64-bit computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.