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Windows 7: Guidance on Windows Deployments for Business Customers

11 Feb 2009   #1

Guidance on Windows Deployments for Business Customers

Hi, Iím Gavriella; welcome to the new Windows for your Business Blog.

Let me introduce myself: Iím a member of the Windows Product Management team and have been at Microsoft for 13 years. For the last two and a half, Iíve been focused on product management for MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack). In my new role as Senior Director, Iím leading Product Management for Windows Client, including the Windows OS, the MDOP products, and the client virtualization strategy for our commercial customers. For us that means all customers from small businesses through large enterprises. My team and I are focused on helping optimize the desktop experience for our business customers - we focus on enabling end-user productivity and reducing desktop administration overhead.

Moving forward, the Windows for Your Business Blog will focus on Windows for our commercial customers, and today I want to specifically talk about what weíre doing to help those customers with their deployments and reducing IT costs.

With the current state of the economy, I understand that many companies are scrutinizing IT budgets and doing some ďbelt-tightening.Ē The customers I have spoken to most recently are also looking for technology that will lead to greater efficiency and cost savings to help them shift costs out of the organization, as well as align with business needs. I think customers are recognizing that this economic downturn is not a short term penny-pinching exercise. Instead, weíre all looking for strategies to weather this economic storm. In order to do this, we will need to make fundamental changes that reduce operating margins for the long term.

I also know that the reality of customersí deployment projects will typically take them 12-18 months of planning and testing before operating system deployments can begin. Application testing and migration readiness typically takes a significant portion of this time. It also takes time for companies to standardize hardware, certify operating system images, select deployment tools and methods, as well as train end-users and IT for the new operating system.

With this demand on time, plus the strains from todayís economy, our customers are under a lot of pressure.

As a first step, we recommend our customers assess their environment to be in a better position to decide what OS they need to deploy:

1. Take an inventory of how many applications you manage in your current enterprise environment Ė here is guidance that can help.

2. Talk to your application vendors to find out how long they intend to provide support for their application running in Windows XP and when they plan to support their application running in Windows 7.

3. This will help you assess the maximum length of time that you have to move from Windows XP to Windows 7.

  • Then you should assess the level of application compatibility that your applications have with Windows 7 (we recommend you test your applications against Windows Vista as there will be a high degree of compatibility between Windows 7 and Windows Vista) Ė this will help you assess how many of your applications will need to be upgraded, remediated or replaced in order to work in your new operating environment.
  • If you test your applications against the Windows 7 Beta, we recommend that for the mainstream OS deployment, you later test applications against the RTM (Release-to-Manufacturing) release.
  • Here is guidance and documentation on performing your application compatibility testing:
4. Then you should assess the hardware compatibility in your environment (and what it will be in the 12-18 months that it might take for you to complete the deployment of the new OS).

5. Additionally, here are other useful steps to consider as you are assessing for OS deployment:

Having this information about your environment will help you identify any blocking issues that you need to address in your OS migration and what your timelines might look like in reality.

We recommend you use what you are running today to make the right decision for your business.

  • If you are running Windows 2000 in your environment: Migrate your Windows 2000 PCs to Windows Vista as soon as possible. Extended support for Windows 2000 ends Q2 2010, and as an commerical customer, you may soon find your businessís critical applications are unsupported.
  • If you are in the process of planning or deploying Windows Vista: Continue your Windows Vista SP1 deployment. If youíre really in the early stages or just starting on Windows Vista, plan to test and deploy Windows Vista SP2 (on target to RTM Q2 2009). Moving onto Windows Vista now will allow for an easier transition to Windows 7 in the future due to the high degree of compatibility.
  • If you are on Windows XP now and are undecided about which OS to move to: Make sure you taken into consideration the risk of skipping Windows Vista, which I am discussing below. And know that deploying Windows Vista now will make the future transition to Windows 7 easier.
  • If you are on Windows XP now and are waiting for Windows 7: Make sure you take into consideration the risks of skipping Windows Vista, and plan on starting an early evaluation of Windows 7 for your company using the beta thatís available now. Testing and remediating applications on Windows Vista will ease your Windows 7 deployment due to the high degree of compatibility.
We know some of our customers are considering waiting for Windows 7 instead of deploying Windows Vista today. We want these customers to understand the following considerations, so they are not surprised later on:

  • You may find your company in situations where applications are no longer supported on Windows XP and not yet supported on Windows 7.
  • You will want to take time to evaluate Windows 7 just as you evaluate any new operating system for your environment prior to deployment (see deployment realities above). As Windows 7 is planned to be released in about 3 years after Windows Vista, the total period that many customers will likely be waiting prior to deploying Windows 7 in their environment will likely be in the range of 5 years after Windows Vista release.
Regardless of which OS you plan to deploy or are running today, consider deploying the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) which is part of the Windows Optimized Desktop, so that you can implement cost saving best practices. The Windows Optimized Desktop is the combination of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) and the Windows OS (Windows Vista Enterprise or Windows 7 Enterprise). MDOP offers Software Assurance customers advanced tools to provide immediate ROI through software asset management, help desk management, application management and group policy management.

We expect deployment and application migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 to be similar in effort to going from Windows XP to Windows Vista. As I mentioned above, there is a great deal of compatibility between both Windows Vista and Windows 7, as we are not introducing any major architectural changes. Our customers who focus efforts in getting their applications to work on Windows Vista will ease future migration to Windows 7 and help accelerate their Windows 7 deployment.

Customers who are in the process of deploying Windows Vista or who are considering a deployment to Windows Vista will find their investment in the deployment not only pays off in the value theyíll receive today, but will also put them in a much better place to take advantage of the benefits of Windows 7 moving forward.

We hope this guidance will help you, our business customers, make informed decisions on your Windows deployment plans going forward.


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 Guidance on Windows Deployments for Business Customers

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