Gartner tells businesses: forget about Vista
Don't even think about deploying Vista, Gartner analysts warn businesses
IT analyst firm Gartner has told businesses to skip Vista and prepare to roll out Windows 7.
Companies have traditionally been advised to wait until the first Service Pack of an operating system arrives before considering migration.
However, Gartner is urging organisations that aren't already midway through Vista deployments to give the much-maligned operating system a miss.
"Skip Vista and target Windows 7," Gartner analysts Michael Silver and Stephen Kleynhans advise in a research paper. "Preparing for Vista will require the same amount of effort as preparing for Windows 7, so at this point, targeting Windows 7 would add less than six months to the schedule and would result in a plan that is more politically palatable, better for users, and results in greater longevity."
Even businesses that are midway through planning a Vista migration are urged to consider scrapping the deployment. "Consider switching to Windows 7 if it would delay deployment by six months or less," the pair advise. "The further you are with your Vista plans, the more sense it makes to continue."
Companies who are in the midst of a deployment should carry on, the Gartner team says, although they should plan to move again to Windows 7 in "late 2010 or early 2011".
All aboard by 2012
The Gartner experts say all companies should move off Windows XP by the end of 2012 to avoid problems with application compatibility.
However, they concede that large organisations are at least a year away from full-scale Windows 7 deployments. "Few organisations will be able to begin large-scale production deployments until 12 to 18 months after the RTM, in late 2010 or early 2011," they say.
"Consumers and small and mid-size businesses are more likely to run what ships on new PCs, so they will be early adopters of Windows 7."
The Gartner analysts identify Branche Cache and AppLocker as the two features that will prove most attractive to corporate users.
Branch Cache will speed downloads for workers in satellite offices, by caching copies of previously downloaded documents locally - either on workers' PCs or a satellite office server.
AppLocker, meanwhile, gives companies granular control over the applications - right down to the version number - that employees can install on their office machines.
"Both of these will require Windows 7 Enterprise Edition, available only to organisations with Software Assurance, or Windows 7 Ultimate," the Gartner analysts warn.