Most IT admins holdout on Windows 7 upgrade

Microsoft announced today that businesses can get Windows 7 a month and a half before the general release date of Oct. 22, but a new survey suggests that many of them may not want it.

Results of a survey of more than 1,000 IT administrators sponsored by systems management software company ScriptLogic show that nearly 60 per cent of respondents have no current plans to deploy Windows 7.

The survey was distributed to 20,000 Windows IT administrators, resulting in 1,100 responses. ScriptLogic’s software helps IT administrators manage Windows-based networks.

Despite the good reviews of Windows 7 and user interface and networking improvements over Vista, IT managers surveyed still see barriers to deployment such as lack of time and resources and application compatibility.

Data from the survey reflect an ongoing problem for Microsoft: businesses are happy enough with Windows XP that there is no urgency to upgrade.

“While it is important that our staff have access to the latest operating systems, we won’t migrate to Windows 7 until at least the first service pack has been released,” Sean Angus, senior PC LAN tech for Middlesex Hospital in Connecticut, was quoted as saying in a survey press release.

The leading way that companies are saving money is by “skipping upgrades or delaying purchases” (35 per cent), according to the survey data. This provides context for the survey’s smoking gun statistic: 60 per cent of respondents said they have no plans to deploy Windows 7 at this time. Thirty-four per cent of respondents plan to deploy the OS by the end of 2010. A mere 5.4 per cent plan to deploy it by the end of 2009.

The 40 per cent that do plan a migration to Windows 7 by the end of 2010 is actually a strong number compared to the adoption rate of Windows XP in its first year, cited as 12 to 14 per cent.

But for those respondents who are holding back on Windows 7 deployments, the two most popular reasons were lack of time and resources (42.4 per cent) and application compatibility (38.9 per cent).

Nick Cavalancia, vice president of Windows management at ScriptLogic, stresses that the high per centage of Windows 7 holdouts are a sign of the bad economy.

“This survey highlights the impact the economy has had on IT, with 35 per cent of respondents saying they’ve saved money by skipping upgrades and delaying purchases,” he says. “This is likely a reason why IT administrators will put off a Windows 7 migration.”

Windows 8 predictions

Of course, we currently know nothing about Windows 7’s successor.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t start speculating. Here are my top five predictions for Windows 8:

Prediction 1: No more 32-bit. Microsoft has been juggling the whole 32-bit versus 64-bit equation for far too long. Maintaining dual code bases — even with copious source sharing between them — is a real waste of resources. We saw it first with Windows Server 2008 R2.

Expect a repeat performance with Windows 8, which will be 64-bit-only.

Prediction 2: Mesh is big. Microsoft’s Live Mesh is a real sleeper technology. I expected big things from this hybrid local/cloud synchronization framework for Windows 7, but Microsoft chose instead to focus on build quality. However, you’ll be hearing a lot more about it in the coming months as Microsoft continues to extend Windows into the cloud.

Prediction 3: App-V makes its mark. I’ve already declared Windows XP mode to be a brain-dead way of implementing legacy compatibility. However, given the time constraints associated with Windows 7, Microsoft chose the easy route and put off the hard work of integrating application virtualization for another day. Expect to see App-V come to prominence as the company seeks to further abstract its legacy Windows APIs from the core OS.

Prediction 4: Windows gets fatter – Forget all your MinWin fantasies. The reality turned out to be quite different — namely, the compartmentalization of Windows layers to map and remove dependencies.

Expect this work to continue with Windows 8, but for the core OS model — NT Executive supporting various runtime subsystem environments — to remain relatively unmodified. Windows 7 has shown us that incremental change is a good thing, especially at the kernel level. There’s a reason why this latest iteration is so stable, and it has more to do with what Microsoft didn’t change than any improvements it made under the hood.

Prediction 5: Subscribe today. The days of the shrinkwrapped package are numbered. Microsoft is already flirting with electronic distribution of Windows via its pre-order program. Expect this trend to continue, with Windows 8 available via a downloadable installer application that you receive after registering for you new Windows client subscription.

Note: As with any predictions article, take the above with a grain of salt. After all, with Google’s Chrome OS on the horizon,″target=”blank we may well find ourselves living in a Google-dominated world where the very idea of a non-Web-based OS seems anachronistic.

At least that’s what everyone keeps telling me.

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