Introduction to 64-bit Computing
64-bit Migration SupportThanks to the release of Windows 7, the business justification for upgrading to 64-bit computing has never seemed better. Still, many IT managers are predictably reluctant to launch a significant migration project when the primary benefits — improved dependability, scalability, and speed — are too intangible to evaluate precisely. Being a Microsoft Partner with over two decades of background assisting companies to carry out network-wide migrations, Progent can help you to understand the risks and rewards of adopting 64-bit computing, create an economical migration scheme that minimizes operational interruptions, and deliver affordable, expert online consulting while you upgrade the software powering your existing computers.

With the majority of business IT systems, 64-bit computing is a giant unexploited power source. Both Intel and AMD, the top CPU chip manufacturers, have been incorporating 64-bit ability in their mainstream processors for years, with the result that all classes of business computers including laptops, desktop computers, engineering workstations and back-office servers already have the architecture to run in 64-bit mode. Yet most of these devices continue to run 32-bit software platforms.

The primary reason for this widespread hesitation to join the 64-bit millennium is that the business benefit for updating in-place systems has seemed to be small in comparison to the work required. There is no automatic path to migrate from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade demands a clean install, which means reinstalling current applications, backing up and recovering data files, and configuring new 64-bit drivers. This demands thorough planning to do efficiently. Furthermore, many popular office productivity software are currently available only in 32-bit editions, so what's the benefit?

Benefits of Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
The advantages of 64-bit vs. 32-bit processing may seem vague and difficult to quantify, but they are significant. The RAM partitioning techniques used in 32-bit platforms are essentially a technical afterthought that limits system stability. RAM-starved applications are sometimes not able to access available RAM because the operating system is unable to allocate it efficiently. This can be the cause of software freezing or running erratically even though a computer appears to have plenty of available RAM. Also, 64-bit operating systems support far more physical RAM than 32-bit ones and crunch twice as much data per CPU cycle. You can also jump from one memory-intensive application to another more quickly while using a 64-bit environment. Basically, 64-bit processing makes environments more reliable, more expandable, and more efficient, which in turn makes companies more productive.

Microsoft's x64 Initiative
Microsoft's “x64” software supports the 64-bit processors found in virtually all computers now installed in business networks. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" platform is restricted to a few high-end processors and is intended for environments that require massive multi-processing.) Prior to the release of Microsoft Office 2010, most Microsoft desktop programs such as 2007 Office and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were available solely in 32-bit editions, which can nevertheless be used on x64 Windows. The new generation of Office 2010 offers significant improvements. As an example, Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit edition that allows you to build spreadsheets with enormous databases that are not limited to the 2-gigabyte maximum file size that hampers 32-bit releases of Office Excel.

Microsoft has developed native x64 versions of many Microsoft Server platforms, including Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Commerce Server 2007, Microsoft BizTalk Server, plus Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server 64-bit editions are priced and licensed identically to 32-bit editions, so ordinarily you pay nothing more for 64-bit server operating systems or machines.

For workstations, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost x64 versions that offer advanced stability, capacity, and performance. As with all upgrades from 32- to 64-bit platforms, the move up can't be done seamlessly. Each workstation and server requires a clean installation that involves reinstalling application software, backing up and restoring data files, and installing 64-bit device drivers. On the other hand, for typical current desktop PCs, and for every PC running XP, the 32 or 64-bit version of Windows 7 or 8 requires you to carry out a clean install. Consequently, there will never be a better time to move to x64 processing on the workstation, since it will involve little extra effort.

How Progent Can Help Your Business to Upgrade to 64-bit Processing
Besides helping your organization to understand the practical benefits, costs, and technical risks attached to migrating to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can help you design, document, implement, manage, and repair a system-wide migration to 64-bit server and desktop operating systems and business applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit environment to verify that it handles all of the key 32-bit applications which you intend to retain plus the latest 64-bit versions of applications you plan to run. If adopting Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your 64-bit migration plan, Progent's Windows 7 experts, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 evaluation and upgrade experts can help your company to determine which desktop hardware and programs can or ought to be preserved, and design a migration process that is minimally disturbing to your business productivity.

Other ways Progent's consultants can assist your business to upgrade to 64-bit processing include:

  • Progent's expertise delivering remote network consulting and support can save your business time and expense during your 64-bit migration, and Progent's background working with in-house IT personnel and providing technical information sharing to them can increase the efficiency of your network support team.

  • Progent's certified Cisco CCIE network consultants can verify that your network architecture is configured to support your 64-bit computing environment, that it is simple to track, administer, and repair, and that it offers a high degree of data protection and reliability.

  • Progent's business continuity consultants can assist you in developing and testing a business continuity plan that incorporates your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) consulting professionals can help you to deploy System Center SCDPM to provide automated online backup with the advantage of rapid data restoration.

  • Progent's CISM, CISSP, GIAC, and CISA certified network security specialists can help you develop a company-wide security plan that implements some of the new protection technologies included with x64 servers. Progent can also carry out security vulnerability checking to assess or verify your company's compliance with mandated security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization consultants can help you benefit from 64-bit virtual server solutions to leverage your hardware resources, simplify management, improve fault tolerance, lower hosting expenses, and speed up recovery time in the event of a disaster.

  • Progent's live online education can help get your IT support staff and your desktop workers up to speed quickly and cost-effectively by providing remote virtual training specialized for your network requirements and operational procedures.
Contact Progent for Expertise in Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
To find out additional information about how Progent's consultants can assist you to migrate to x64 computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.