Introduction to 64-bit Computing
64-bit Upgrade HelpThanks to the availability of Windows 7, the business justification for moving to 64-bit processing has never seemed more compelling. Still, many IT managers are predictably reluctant to launch a significant migration project when the main benefits — increased dependability, scalability, and performance — are too intangible to quantify precisely. Being a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of experience helping businesses to carry out system-wide migrations, Progent can assist you to understand the costs and benefits of adopting 64-bit processing, design an efficient upgrade scheme that reduces operational disruptions, and provide affordable, expert remote technical support as you update the software powering your existing computers.

With most business networks, 64-bit processing is a great unexploited power source. Intel and AMD, the leading CPU chip manufacturers, have been delivering 64-bit ability in their mainstream CPUs for years, with the result that all classes of business computing hardware including laptops, desktop computers, engineering workstations and back-office servers already have the architecture to run in 64-bit mode. Yet most of these computers still host 32-bit software platforms.

The main reason for this widespread hesitation to join the 64-bit revolution is that the real benefit for upgrading in-place systems has seemed to be small in comparison to the effort needed. There is no automatic path to migrate from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system. The enhancement requires a clean installation, which means reinstalling existing applications, saving and recovering data, and configuring new 64-bit drivers. This requires thorough planning to carry out economically. Furthermore, most office productivity software are currently available only in 32-bit versions, so where's the benefit?

Advantages of Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
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 techniques utilized by 32-bit platforms are basically a technical band-aid that undermines stability. RAM-hungry programs are often unable to utilize existing RAM since the operating system cannot assign it efficiently. This can be the cause of programs freezing or running fitfully even though a machine seems to have plenty of available memory. In addition, 64-bit operating systems support much more physical RAM than 32-bit ones and process twice as much data per CPU cycle. You can also jump from one RAM-hungry application to another faster when running in a 64-bit environment. Fundamentally, 64-bit processing makes environments more reliable, more scalable, and more efficient, which in turn makes companies more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Processing Initiative
Microsoft's ďx64Ē software works with the 64-bit processors used in most servers and desktop PCs now deployed in office IT systems. (Microsoft's "Itanium" support is limited to special high-end Intel/AMD CPUs and is intended for environments that require large-scale multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Office 2010, most Microsoft client applications such as Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were offered only in 32-bit versions, which can still be run on x64 platforms. The latest family of Office 2010 offers dramatic improvements. For example, Office Excel 2010 is available in a 64-bit version that permits you to build spreadsheets with huge datasets that are not limited by the 2-gigabyte maximum file size that hampers 32-bit releases of Office Excel.

Microsoft has developed true x64 versions of many Microsoft Server System products, including Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Commerce Server 2007, Microsoft BizTalk Server, plus System Center Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server 64-bit versions are priced and licensed the same as 32-bit editions, so typically you pay nothing extra for 64-bit server software or machines.

For client computers, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price 64-bit versions that offer high stability, capacity, and throughput. As with all migrations from 32-bit to 64-bit platforms, the move up canít be done seamlessly. Every workstation and server requires a clean setup that involves reinstalling application software, backing up and restoring data, and installing 64-bit drivers. In fact, for most in-place workstations, and for every PC running XP, even the 64-bit version of Windows 7 or Windows 8 will require you to carry out a "from scratch" install. Consequently, there has never been a better opportunity to migrate to 64-bit processing on the workstation, since it will involve little additional effort.

How Progent Can Help Your Business to Upgrade to 64-bit Processing
Besides helping you to evaluate the practical benefits, expenses, and technical risks associated with migrating to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you design, document, implement, administer, and repair a system-wide move to 64-bit server and client OS software and applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit environment to verify that it handles all of the key 32-bit programs that you want to keep plus the new 64-bit versions of applications you plan to install. If adopting Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your 64-bit upgrade strategy, Progent's Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 testing and upgrade experts can help your company to determine which workstation hardware and applications can or should be retained, and design a migration procedure that is minimally disturbing to your business productivity.

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

  • Progent's expertise delivering online computer consulting and troubleshooting can save you effort and expense during your 64-bit migration, and Progent's experience cooperating with internal IT staffs and delivering technical information transfer to them can improve the effectiveness of your network support team.

  • Progent's Cisco CCIE network consultants can verify that your network infrastructure is configured to accommodate your 64-bit computing solution, that it is easy to monitor, manage, and repair, and that it provides a high degree of data protection and fault tolerance.

  • Progent's disaster recovery consulting professionals can assist you in creating and validating a workplace recovery strategy that includes your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center SCDPM consulting professionals can assist you to configure 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 security specialists can assist you create a company-wide security strategy that implements some of the new security mechanisms incorporated into x64 servers. Progent can also carry out network security vulnerability testing to evaluate or verify your network's compliance with industry or government security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization engineers can help you utilize 64-bit virtual server solutions to leverage your hardware, simplify management, enhance fault tolerance, cut hosting expenses, and speed up restoration time in case of a catastrophic breakdown.

  • Progent's online training classes can help get your IT management team and your desktop employees up to speed rapidly and cost-effectively by delivering online webinars specialized for your computing environment and business processes.
Contact Progent to Get Support for Migrating to x64 Processing
To learn more details about how Progent's engineers can assist your business to upgrade to 64-bit processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.