Microsoft Vista: Are You Willing To Be An Early Adapter?

By: Chris Bryant

While I'm always anxious to work with a new NOS such as Microsoft Vista in a lab environment, I'm never one of the first to actually roll a new NOS out into a production network. According to an article in the September 18, 2007 edition of The Wall Street Journal, there are those who are happy to be an early adapter - and Microsoft's happy to get their feedback!

Robert Guth's article notes some interesting statistics when it comes to Vista rollouts. Among 565 companies in the United States and Europe surveyed (all companies had at least 1000 employees), 7% are beginning a Vista rollout this year, 25% plan to start a Vista rollout sometime in 2008, but 38% have no plans to move to Vista.

The article mentions that some users may be hesitant to move to Vista because software programs will have to be modified to run on Vista, and that's certainly true.

I do believe that many network admins themselves aren't convinced that a move from XP to Vista is necessary for their network, thinking that the potential gains aren't worth the short-term headaches that accompany any NOS upgrade.

Luckily for Microsoft, not everyone feels that way. The article mentions Eric Craig, a managing director for Continental Airlines, and his drive to roll Vista out. They've run into some issues with software drivers and some of the usual suspects with an NOS upgrade, but right now they're moving right along and expect to have about half of their 18,000 PCs upgraded to Vista by early 2008.

Feedback from early Vista adapters like Continental is invaluable to improving Vista, and that feedback is also an important part of Microsoft's software application certification process. Guth's article mentions that over 2000 applications have now been Vista-certified, and that's a large increase over the 250 that were certified at the beginning of 2007.

Microsoft's got a long way to go with Vista, though, if 38% of companies out there aren't even thinking of moving to Vista. Several network chiefs interviewed in the article voiced concerns about - you guessed it - having their software programs run smoothly on Vista. With Vista SP 1 on the horizon, though, those concerns may lessen. As an analyst for Forrester Research quoted in the article says of networks upgrading to Vista, "It's not a matter of ifArticle Submission, it's a matter of when and how". That sounds like a nice way of saying "You will be assimilated!"

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