Introduction to 64-bit Computing
64-bit Migration HelpWith the release of Microsoft Windows 7, the business case for upgrading to 64-bit computing has never been more compelling. Still, most network managers are understandably hesitant to launch a major migration project when the primary benefits — improved stability, capacity, and performance — are too vague to quantify precisely. As a Microsoft Partner with years of background assisting companies to implement network-wide upgrade projects, Progent can help you to understand the risks and benefits of adopting 64-bit processing, design an efficient upgrade strategy that minimizes productivity disruptions, and deliver cost-effective, high-level online engineering help as you update the system software powering your existing computers.

For the majority of business IT systems, 64-bit computing is a great untapped power source. Intel and AMD, the leading CPU makers, have been incorporating 64-bit ability in their commodity processors for years, so that all classes of business computing hardware such as laptops, desktop computers, high-powered workstations and advanced servers now have the ability to operate in 64-bit format. Yet most of these devices continue to host 32-bit software platforms.

The main cause for this widespread hesitation to join the 64-bit revolution is that the real benefit for upgrading existing systems has appeared to be small in comparison to the effort required. There is no automatic path to upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit OS. The enhancement requires a clean installation, which means reinstalling current programs, saving and recovering data, and installing new 64-bit drivers. This demands thorough planning to carry out efficiently. Meanwhile, most desktop applications are currently available only in 32-bit versions, so where's the benefit?

Benefits of Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit vs. 32-bit processing may appear to be vague and difficult to define precisely, but they are significant. The memory partitioning techniques utilized by 32-bit operating systems are basically a technical afterthought that undermines stability. RAM-hungry applications are sometimes not allowed to utilize free RAM because the O/S cannot allocate it efficiently. This can be the cause of software shutting down or executing fitfully even though a machine appears to have plenty of available RAM. Also, 64-bit software platforms support much more physical memory than 32-bit ones and process more information per clock cycle. You can also switch from one memory-hungry application to another faster when using a 64-bit environment. Fundamentally, 64-bit computing makes systems more stable, more scalable, and more efficient, which in turn makes companies more competitive.

Microsoft's 64-bit Computing Initiative
Microsoft's “x64” software works with the 64-bit CPUs found in virtually all computers now installed in business networks. (Microsoft's 64-bit "Itanium" platform is restricted to special advanced CPUs and is designed for environments that require massive multi-processing.) Before the availability of Office 2010, the majority of Microsoft client programs including 2007 Office and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 were available only in 32-bit editions, which can still be used on x64 platforms. The latest family of Microsoft Office offers 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 restricted to the 2-gigabyte file size that hampers previous versions of Excel.

Microsoft offers native x64 versions of key Microsoft Server platforms, including Windows Server 2008 and 2003, SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, Commerce Server 2007, BizTalk Server 2006, plus System Center Operations Manager. Windows Server 64-bit versions are priced and licensed identically to their 32-bit versions, so in most circumstances it costs nothing more for 64-bit server software or machines.

For desktop PCs, Microsoft supplies Windows 7 and Windows 8 in same-price x64 versions that offer advanced stability, capacity, and performance. Like all migrations from 32- to 64-bit operating systems, the move up can’t be carried out seamlessly. Each workstation and server needs a clean installation that involves reinstalling application software, saving and restoring data, and configuring 64-bit device drivers. On the other hand, for most in-place desktop PCs, and for all PCs running XP, even the 64-bit edition of Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 will require you to carry out a clean installation. This being the case, there has never been a better time to move to 64-bit processing on the workstation, since it will involve little extra effort.

How Progent Can Help Your Business to Migrate to 64-bit Computing
Besides helping you to understand the business advantages, costs, and technical variables associated with migrating to 64-bit processing, Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you design, document, carry out, administer, and troubleshoot a system-wide migration to 64-bit server and client OS software and applications. Progent can help you pilot your 64-bit infrastructure to verify that it supports all of the important 32-bit applications that you intend to keep plus the latest 64-bit versions of software you wish to install. If adopting Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is included in your 64-bit upgrade plan, Progent's certified Windows 7 engineers, Windows 8.1 consultants, and Windows 10 testing and upgrade experts can assist you to determine which desktop computers and programs can or should be preserved, and design a migration process that is minimally disruptive to your network operations.

Additional ways Progent's consultants can help you to upgrade to x64 processing include:

  • Progent's experience delivering remote network consulting and troubleshooting can save you time and expense over the course of your 64-bit migration, and Progent's background working with in-house IT personnel and delivering technical knowledge transfer to them can increase the efficiency of your network support team.

  • Progent's Cisco CCIE network engineers can make sure that your network architecture is optimized to support your x64 computing solution, that it is easy to track, manage, and repair, and that it offers a high degree of data protection and fault tolerance.

  • Progent's business continuity consulting professionals can assist you in developing and validating a business continuity strategy that incorporates your 64-bit servers. Progent's Microsoft certified Microsoft System Center SCDPM engineering professionals can assist you to configure Microsoft System Center SCDPM to provide automated online backup with the advantage of rapid system recovery.

  • Progent's CISSP and GIAC network security engineers can help you create a company-wide security plan that deploys some of the new protection mechanisms included with 64-bit servers. Progent can also perform security vulnerability checking to evaluate or confirm your network's adherence to industry or government security standards.

  • Progent's virtualization experts can show you how to utilize 64-bit virtual server technology to leverage your equipment, simplify management, improve robustness, lower colocation costs, and speed up recovery time in the event of a disaster.

  • Progent's online instruction can help bring both your network management team and your office workers up to date quickly and cost-effectively by providing remote virtual training specialized for your computing environment and business procedures.
Contact Progent for Expertise in Upgrading to x64 Processing
For more details about how Progent's consultants can help you to migrate to x64 computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.