I was on Microsoft's website trying to understand the business benefits of upgrading to Vista. I found this article called Key reasons to upgrade to Windows Vista. To sum it up, here are the four reasons from Microsoft that justify this expensive upgrade:
- Empowering users to find and use information
- Enabling mobile workers to stay connected and productive in and out of office
- Helping companies to make corporate systems and information more secure
- Making it easier to deploy and manage company PCs
- XP will eventually not be supported by Microsoft (currently targeted for 2014).
- As other businesses upgrade, your company will not be able to open Office 2007 documents unless you install the Office Compatibility Pack.
Second, enable mobile workforce. A lot of nice to have's here. Most companies already have tools that address the security and the collaboration. These features do not justify upgrading all of the hardware in your enterprise, especially when most of your hardware is not mobile.
Third, security. Wasn't this one of the selling points for going to XP. I feel like Bill Murray in Ground Hog's Day. Security is one of the main reasons why people are looking at alternative operating systems. Yes we need better security. Do I think that Vista is the answer? The jury is still out.
And finally, easier desktop management. These are commendable features. Many companies already have enterprise tools for managing their desktops and others are already moving to a desktop server approach that centrally manages desktop images and automatically updates client PCs when they connect to the network. I think the advancements in desktop management in Vista are great, but it does not justify the upgrade by itself.
So of the four reasons to upgrade to Vista giving to us by Microsoft, only security is compelling enough for me to even consider it. The shelf life of XP is the real business driver. We can argue all day long whether Vista is more secure then XP or any other OS for that matter, but other then a few reports from Microsoft's own Jeff Jones, I haven't seen any compelling facts to make me want to start an upgrade tomorrow.
I did stumble across a good article from Kelly Martin from SecurityFocus called The New Vista Waiting Game. He predicts that XP will be the corporate standard for years to come. Here is a quote from the article:
“ Despite all the coming advertising and sales pitches about early Vista installations, most businesses would be foolish to upgrade to Vista in the coming year. Businesses want stable, reliable environments. They want to see service packs that address problems even before they encounter them. They want secure environments as well, but to senior executives and other decision makers, this is still a function of Security Risk Management that can be mitigated in various different ways. ”The good news is that XP will be supported for several more years. That gives corporations time to wait for Vista to become more stable and mature. It also gives corporations time to test different distributions of Linux and have an alternative to Vista once XP gets put out to pasture.