Introduction to 64-bit Computing
64-bit Upgrade SupportThanks to the availability of Windows 7, the business justification for upgrading to 64-bit computing has never been better. However, most network managers are predictably hesitant to launch a major upgrade project when the main benefits — improved stability, scalability, and performance — are too intangible to evaluate with precision. As a Microsoft Partner with more than a decade of experience helping companies to carry out system-wide migrations, Progent can help you to understand the risks and benefits of moving to 64-bit processing, design an economical migration strategy that minimizes productivity disruptions, and deliver affordable, high-level remote support while you upgrade the software running your current computers.

For most office IT systems, 64-bit computing is a giant unexploited power source. Intel and AMD, the leading CPU makers, have been delivering 64-bit capability in their commodity CPUs for years, with the result that all types of business computers including laptops, desktop PCs, engineering workstations and back-office servers already possess the architecture to run in 64-bit mode. However the majority of these in-place devices continue to run 32-bit operating systems and applications.

The primary reason for this common hesitation to join the 64-bit millennium is that the real benefit for upgrading in-place computers has appeared to be small in relation to the work required. There is no seamless path to upgrade from a 32 to a 64-bit operating system. The upgrade requires a clean install, which means reinstalling current applications, backing up and restoring data, and configuring new 64-bit drivers. This demands thorough planning to carry out efficiently. Meanwhile, most office applications are currently available only in 32-bit versions, so what's the benefit?

Benefits of Moving Up to 64-bit Processing
The advantages of 64-bit over 32-bit processing may seem subtle and difficult to define precisely, yet they are significant. The memory management schemes utilized by 32-bit operating systems are essentially an engineering afterthought that limits system stability. Memory-hungry applications are sometimes unable to utilize available memory since the operating system is unable to assign it effectively. This results in software shutting down or running fitfully even though a computer appears to have ample unused RAM. In addition, 64-bit operating systems allow much more addressable RAM than 32-bit systems and crunch more data per CPU cycle. You can also go from one RAM-intensive program to another faster when you are running in a 64-bit system. Basically, 64-bit processing makes systems more reliable, more scalable, and more efficient, which in turn makes businesses more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Software
Microsoft's “x64” software supports the 64-bit CPUs used in virtually all servers and desktop PCs currently deployed in business IT systems. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" platform is limited to special advanced Intel/AMD CPUs and is designed for applications that require massive multi-processing.) Before the availability of Office 2010, most Microsoft desktop applications such as 2007 Office and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were available only in 32-bit editions, which can nevertheless be used on x64 platforms. The new generation of Microsoft Office delivers dramatic improvements. As an example, Microsoft Office Excel 2010 is available in a 64-bit edition that allows you to build spreadsheets with huge databases that are not limited by the 2-gigabyte file size imposed by 32-bit releases of Microsoft Office Excel.

Microsoft offers true x64 versions of many Microsoft Server System products, such as Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server 2007, Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006, plus System Center Operations Manager. Windows Server 64-bit editions are priced and licensed the same as 32-bit editions, so typically you pay nothing more for 64-bit server operating systems or hardware.

For desktop PCs, Microsoft offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price 64-bit versions that provide advanced dependability, scalability, and throughput. Like all upgrades from 32- to 64-bit operating systems, the move up can’t be carried out without effort. Every workstation and server requires a clean installation that entails reconfiguring applications, backing up and recovering data files, and configuring 64-bit device drivers. In fact, for typical current desktop PCs, and for every PC running XP, even the 64-bit edition of Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 will require you to carry out a "from scratch" install. This being the case, there will never be a better time to upgrade to 64-bit processing on the desktop, since it will require little extra work.

How Progent Can Help You to Upgrade to 64-bit Computing
Besides helping you to understand the practical benefits, costs, and technical variables associated with migrating to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you plan, document, carry out, manage, and troubleshoot a system-wide move to 64-bit server and client 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 intend to retain plus the latest 64-bit editions of software you wish to run. If adopting Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your 64-bit migration strategy, Progent's certified Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 migration consultants, and Windows 10 testing and migration consultants can assist your company to decide which desktop computers and programs can or should be retained, and plan a migration process that is minimally disruptive to your network productivity.

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

  • Progent's experience providing online computer consulting and troubleshooting can save you time and money over the course of your 64-bit upgrade, and Progent's experience cooperating with internal IT staffs and providing technical knowledge sharing to them can improve the effectiveness of your network support staff.

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

  • Progent's business continuity consultants can assist you in developing and testing a disaster recovery strategy that incorporates your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) support experts can help you to configure Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to provide near-continuous online backup with the capability of fast system recovery.

  • Progent's CISSP and GIAC certified security consultants can help you develop a company-wide security strategy that deploys some of the new protection mechanisms incorporated into 64-bit server platforms. Progent can also provide network security vulnerability testing to evaluate or verify your company's compliance with industry or government security requirements.

  • Progent's virtualization engineers can show you how to benefit from 64-bit virtual server technology to conserve equipment, streamline administration, enhance dependability, cut colocation costs, and speed up recovery time in the event of a catastrophic breakdown.

  • Progent's online training classes can help bring both your IT management team and your desktop workers up to speed rapidly and cost-effectively by delivering remote webinars customized for your computing requirements and operational processes.
Contact Progent for Help Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
To learn additional information about how Progent's engineers can help you to upgrade to 64-bit computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.