Windows 7: Corporate customers bullish on adoption plans

Many companies that eschewed Vista will go straight from XP to Windows 7

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"We are always a late adopter," he says. "The reality is we have hundreds of applications dependent on XP as an operating system, or more specifically, the browser as in IE6 level, and when you get into our ActiveX applets they only operate at an IE6 level. And therefore we are in no rush to migrate." Windows 7 automatically upgrades users to IE8, which would mean Shands' ActiveX applets would no longer operate.

Kowal says Shands has set up a timeline for testing its applications with Windows 7. But he adds that the organization is at the mercy of its vendors as to when they will code their applications to be compatible with the new operating system. Typically, Kowal says Shands waits until all of its applications are supported before moving to a new OS.

"We have, on occasion, rolled out a new OS by department," he says. "Maybe radiology will get Windows 7 and pharmacy might not because of their applications. We might say we're going to upgrade the PCs [at the same time we install the new OS], and that helps us because we can do a scattered upgrade."

Adding virtualization to the mix

Steve Romeo, vice president of IT at Breg Inc., a medical device company in Vista, Calif., says his company will probably start shifting some of its users to Windows 7 in 2010, with a full rollout in 2011. Romeo says most of Breg's 4,000 PCs and laptops are now running XP.

Romeo says Breg is also rolling out a lot of virtualization at the same time. So not only will the desktop experience be a new one, it will also be a virtualized experience.

Breg's Steve Romeo
Steve Romeo, vice president of IT at Breg, says his company will probably start shifting some of its users to Windows 7 in 2010, with a full rollout in 2011.

"It will be a clean slate, so to speak, with a lot of our users, so I'm not overly concerned about that process," he says. "We're going to automate the upgrades as much as possible, but there's also going to be a lot of infrastructure changes at the same time."

Currently, Breg is running Windows 7 on PCs in its labs worldwide. Romeo says the overall experience is that applications require less memory to run and are more responsive. Users have been positive about their experiences -- more so than when the company tested Vista.

"The speed of the applications and the weight of 7 on our systems is a lot lighter than Vista. Vista takes a lot of memory to run, it requires a lot of CPUs and it can really bog the system down," he says. "But with Windows 7, we find the systems are more responsive and don't require as much memory to actually function."

Overall, Al Gillen, an analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, says that Windows 7 is a given for enterprises; it's just a matter of how they will choose to deploy it.

"Windows 7 is going to be adopted in corporate sites," he says. "The real question is how soon it will be adopted and what the rollout profiles will look like -- how much is upgraded versus how much is directly replaced by new PC installations."

A former Computerworld reporter, Linda Rosencrance has written about technology for 10 years and has been a reporter for 20. Currently a freelance writer in Massachusetts, she is working on her fourth true crime book for Kensington Publishing Corp. She can be reached at rosencrance1@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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