Thursday 22 April 2010

Windows 7: Six months on and the winner is 64-bit computing

Today marks the six month anniversary of the launch of Windows 7, one of the most anticipated operating system releases to date. With the promise of easier, faster and more secure computing for all, the question is “has the new operating system lived up to the high expectations?”

In our experience the answer is undoubtedly yes – Windows 7 has brought a multitude of benefits and rejuvenation to the enterprise. For the majority of organisations Windows 7 is their first major OS migration in five years - having been working with old desktops and/or servers, deciding to skip Vista entirely and stay with XP or earlier operating systems. Windows 7 has had a completely unprecedented start in its first six months and from the work we’ve been doing has been well received by IT professionals and users alike.

We are seeing two big drivers behind the uptake-levels of Windows 7; The first is the ease and speed with which even large-scale migrations can be rolled-out. The second is ability to future proof the management of the application estate once the migration has been completed. Both of these factors have certainly been key in leading to the higher than expected adoption figures in the first six months.

We have also seen that Windows 7 is driving the wide-scale take-up of 64-bit computing. Many of our customers are worried that  they will have application compatibility problems with an upgrade to a 64-bit environment. However after analysing their application estate they realise these issues can be automatically addressed which means they can opt for the more powerful 64-bit option. This is a win / win situation for both the enterprise and Microsoft.

A second trend we’re seeing is significant compatibility challenges still exist with applications three years beyond their initial release date. However, they can be easily fixed and migrated to Windows 7. This issue can often slow down any wide-scale IT upgrades for organisations of all sizes, but the good news is that application compatibility is no longer the show stopper it used to be. With the right planning and tools in place issues can be quickly addressed and problems automatically resolved. Through adopting sensible migration processes we are seeing enterprises save a huge amount of man-hours and in some cases millions of pounds or more in costs.

Looking back on the research ChangeBASE conducted with senior IT decision-makers ahead of the Windows 7 launch in October 2009, the results showed that more than 65 per cent of organisations hoped to migrate to Windows 7 within 12 months. However, based on our experience since then that number has risen and is more like 80%, with over 50% choosing the 64-bit route.

This was a bit of a surprise for us - but, given the nature of the PC hardware and software ecosystem today, 64-bit OS migrations should be soon become the norm.

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