Introduction to 64-bit Computing
Thanks to the availability of Microsoft Windows 7, the business case for upgrading to 64-bit computing has never seemed better. However, many network managers are predictably hesitant to take on a sizable upgrade project when the main advantages — improved dependability, scalability, and speed — are excessively vague to quantify precisely. As a Microsoft Partner with years of experience helping companies to carry out network-wide migrations, Progent can help your company to assess the costs and rewards of moving to 64-bit processing, design an economical upgrade strategy that reduces productivity disruptions, and deliver affordable, high-level remote technical support while you update the system software running your existing computers.
For most business networks, 64-bit processing is a great untapped resource. Intel and AMD, the top CPU makers, have been delivering 64-bit capability in their mainstream processors for years, with the result that all classes of business computing hardware including laptops, desktop computers, engineering workstations and advanced servers now have the ability to run in 64-bit format. Yet most of these computers continue to host 32-bit operating systems and applications.
The primary cause for this widespread reluctance to participate in the 64-bit revolution is that the real benefit for upgrading existing computers has seemed to be small in relation to the work needed. There is no automatic process to upgrade from a 32 to a 64-bit operating system. The enhancement demands a clean install, which means reinstalling existing programs, backing up and restoring data, and installing new drivers. This requires thorough planning to do efficiently. Furthermore, most office productivity software are still offered only in 32-bit versions, so where's the benefit?
Advantages of Upgrading to 64-bit Processing
The benefits of 64-bit over 32-bit computing may seem vague and hard to define precisely, yet they are significant. The RAM memory allocation techniques used in 32-bit systems are essentially a technical band-aid that limits stability. Memory-starved programs are sometimes unable to access existing RAM since the operating system cannot allocate it effectively. This results in programs shutting down or performing fitfully even though a machine seems to have plenty of available memory. Also, 64-bit operating systems support far more addressable memory than 32-bit ones and crunch twice as much information per CPU cycle. You can also switch from one RAM-hungry application to another faster when you are running in a 64-bit system. Basically, 64-bit processing makes systems more stable, more expandable, and faster, which makes companies more productive.
Microsoft's 64-bit Processing Initiative
Microsoft's “x64” technology supports the 64-bit processors used in most computers now deployed in business IT environments. (Microsoft's "Itanium" software is limited to a few high-end processors and is intended for environments that need massive multi-processing.) Before the release of Microsoft Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft desktop programs including Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were offered solely in 32-bit editions, which can nevertheless be used on x64 Windows. The new generation of Office 2010 offers dramatic improvements. As an example, Microsoft Office Excel 2010 is offered in a 64-bit edition that allows you to create spreadsheets with huge databases that are not restricted by the 2-gigabyte maximum file size that hampers 32-bit editions of Microsoft Office Excel.
Microsoft offers true x64 versions of key Microsoft Server platforms, including Microsoft Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Commerce Server 2007, Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006, as well as System Center Operations Manager. Windows Server x64 versions are priced the same as 32-bit versions, so in most circumstances you pay nothing more for 64-bit server software or machines.
For desktop PCs, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-cost x64 editions that offer advanced stability, scalability, and throughput. As with all upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit platforms, the upgrade can’t be carried out seamlessly. Each desktop PC and server requires a clean installation that involves reinstalling application software, backing up and restoring data files, and installing 64-bit drivers. On the other hand, for typical current workstations, and for every PC powered by Microsoft Windows XP, any edition of Windows 7 or 8 requires you to carry out a "from scratch" installation. This being the case, there has never been a better time to migrate to x64 computing on the desktop, since it will involve scarcely any additional work.
How Progent Can Assist Your Business to Migrate to 64-bit Processing
In addition to helping your organization to understand the practical advantages, expenses, and technical risks associated with migrating to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you design, document, implement, manage, and troubleshoot a network-wide migration to 64-bit server and desktop operating systems and applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit environment to make sure it supports all of the key 32-bit programs that you want to retain plus the new 64-bit editions of software you plan to install. If moving to Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is part of your 64-bit migration strategy, Progent's Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 planning and migration experts can help you to decide which workstation computers and programs can or should be retained, and plan a migration procedure that is minimally disruptive to your business operations.
Additional ways Progent's consultants can assist your business to migrate to x64 processing include:
Contact Progent for Support for Migrating to x64 Computing
- Progent's expertise providing online network consulting and support can save you time and expense during your 64-bit upgrade, and Progent's experience working with in-house IT personnel and delivering technical information transfer to them can increase the efficiency of your network support team.
- Progent's Cisco CCIE network consultants can make sure that your network architecture is optimized to accommodate your x64 processing solution, that it is simple to monitor, manage, and troubleshoot, and that it offers a high level of security and robustness.
- Progent's business continuity consultants can assist you in creating and validating a workplace recovery strategy that incorporates your x64 servers. Progent's Microsoft certified System Center System Center Data Protection Manager support professionals can help you to configure System Center SCDPM to support automated online backup with the advantage of rapid system restoration.
- Progent's CISM, CISSP, and GIAC security specialists can help you develop a comprehensive security plan that deploys some of the new protection technologies included with 64-bit servers. Progent can also perform network security vulnerability checking to assess or validate your company's adherence to mandated security requirements.
- Progent's virtualization consultants can show you how to benefit from 64-bit virtual server technology to save money on equipment, streamline management, improve robustness, lower colocation expenses, and reduce recovery time in case of a catastrophic breakdown.
- Progent's online education can help get both your IT management staff and your desktop workers up to date rapidly and cost-effectively by providing remote virtual training customized for your computing requirements and operational processes.
To learn additional details about how Progent can help you to upgrade to x64 processing, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.