Overview of 64-bit Processing
The release of Microsoft Office 2010 represented a milestone in information technology. After that, all of Microsoft's most popular operating systems, application servers, and office productivity software have been available in 64-bit versions for the same price as the 32-bit editions. This includes Exchange Server, SQL Server, SharePoint, System Center Operations Manager, and other key platforms.
Meanwhile, all server, workstation, and laptop computers sold in the last few years already have the ability to run in 64-bit mode. As a Microsoft Partner with years of experience helping businesses carry out network-wide upgrades, Progent can help you understand the costs and benefits of moving to 64-bit processing, design an efficient migration strategy that minimizes operational disruptions, and provide affordable, expert remote support to assist you in upgrading your existing computers and software.
The advantages of 64-bit computing go beyond gigantic spreadsheets. Software is more stable, system performance improves, memory capacity expands, security can be more extensive, and more servers can be consolidated through virtualization. These advantages equate to more uptime, increased productivity, better data protection, and lower equipment costs. Yet for most small businesses, 64-bit computing is still a great untapped resource.
Sticking with 32-bit software and under utilizing 64-bit hardware seems to make no business sense, but in fact there are serious obstacles to migrating to 64-bit computing that have prompted companies to hold back. There is no seamless path for replacing a 32-bit operating system with a 64-bit equivalent. The upgrade requires a clean installation, which means reinstalling existing applications, backing up and restoring data, and installing new 64-bit drivers. In some cases, it can be difficult or impossible to find 64-bit drivers for older peripherals. To avoid business disruption and minimize technical risk, a 64-bit migration demands careful planning and extensive experience.
Advantages of Moving Up to 64-bit Processing
The benefits of 64-bit vs. 32-bit processing may appear to be subtle and difficult to quantify, but they are significant. The RAM management techniques utilized by 32-bit platforms are basically an engineering afterthought that undermines system stability. RAM-hungry programs are often unable to access free memory because the operating system cannot allocate it efficiently. This can be the cause of software freezing or performing erratically even though a machine seems to have ample unused memory. In addition, 64-bit software platforms allow much more addressable RAM than 32-bit systems and process twice as much data per CPU cycle. You can also jump from one memory-hungry application to another more quickly when you are using a 64-bit environment. Fundamentally, 64-bit computing makes systems more stable, more scalable, and more efficient, which in turn makes businesses more competitive.
Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Initiative
Microsoft's “x64” software works with the 64-bit CPUs found in most computers now deployed in business IT environments. (Microsoft's "Itanium" platform is restricted to special high-end CPUs and is intended for environments that require large-scale multi-processing.) Before the release of Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop applications such as 2007 Office and Visual Studio 2005 were offered only in 32-bit editions, which can still be used on x64 platforms. The latest generation of Microsoft Office delivers significant improvements. As an example, Microsoft Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit version that permits you to create spreadsheets with huge datasets that are not limited to the 2-gigabyte maximum file size imposed by previous versions of Excel.
Microsoft has developed native x64 editions of many Microsoft Server platforms, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2005, Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Commerce Server 2007, BizTalk Server, plus Operations Manager. Microsoft Windows Server x64 editions are priced and licensed identically to 32-bit versions, so ordinarily it costs nothing more for 64-bit server operating systems or hardware.
For workstations, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost 64-bit versions that provide advanced stability, scalability, and performance. As with all migrations from 32- to 64-bit platforms, the move up can’t be carried out seamlessly. Every desktop PC and server needs a clean setup that entails reinstalling application software, saving and recovering data files, and configuring 64-bit device drivers. On the other hand, for most in-place desktop PCs, and for all PCs running Windows XP, any edition of Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows 8 requires you to perform a "from scratch" installation. This being the case, there will never be a better opportunity to upgrade to 64-bit processing on the desktop, since it will involve little additional effort.
How Progent Can Help You to Upgrade to 64-bit Computing
Besides assisting you to evaluate the business benefits, costs, and technical risks associated with migrating to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you plan, document, implement, manage, 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 supports all of the key 32-bit programs that you want to keep plus the new 64-bit editions of applications you wish to run. If adopting Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your 64-bit upgrade strategy, Progent's certified Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 testing and upgrade consultants can assist your company to decide which desktop computers and applications can or should be retained, and plan an upgrade process that is the least disruptive to your network operations.
Additional ways Progent can assist you to upgrade to x64 processing include:
Contact Progent to Get Support for Upgrading to x64 Computing
- Progent's experience delivering online computer consulting and support can save your business effort and expense during your 64-bit migration, and Progent's background working with in-house IT staffs and providing technical information sharing to them can improve the efficiency of your support team.
- Progent's Cisco CCIE network consultants can verify that your network infrastructure is optimized to accommodate your 64-bit processing environment, that it is simple to track, manage, and repair, and that it provides a high level of security and fault tolerance.
- Progent's business continuity engineers can assist you in creating and testing a disaster recovery plan that includes your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) consulting professionals can assist you to configure Microsoft System Center System Center Data Protection Manager to provide automated online backup with the advantage of rapid system recovery.
- Progent's CISSP and GIAC security experts can assist you create a company-wide security plan that implements some of the new security technologies included with x64 servers. Progent can also perform network security vulnerability checking to assess or verify your network's compliance with industry or government security standards.
- Progent's virtualization experts can help you use 64-bit virtual server technology to save money on equipment, streamline management, improve reliability, cut hosting costs, and speed up recovery time in the event of a disaster.
- Progent's online education can help get your network management staff and your office employees up to date quickly and affordably by providing remote virtual training specialized for your network environment and business processes.
For more information about how Progent's engineers can assist you to upgrade to 64-bit computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.