Gartner: IT shops moving to Windows 7 need a 20 to 60 percent PC budget increase

Summary:The analysts at Gartner Inc. are warning that business migrations from Windows XP and Windows 2000 to Windows 7 in the next couple of years could create budgetary and resource burdens on IT shops.

The analysts at Gartner Inc. are warning that business migrations from Windows XP and Windows 2000 to Windows 7 in the next couple of years could create budgetary and resource burdens on IT shops.

From 2011 to 2012, "(d)emand for highly qualified Windows 7 migration IT personnel will exceed supply, leading to higher service rates," Gartner representatives said in an August 26 press release.

With most IT shops not really starting their Windows 7 migrations until the fourth quarter of 2010 at the earliest -- and with PC hardware replacement cycles running typically at every four to five years -- "most organizations will not be able to migrate to Windows 7 through usual planned hardware refresh before support for Windows XP ends" in 2014, Gartner is claiming.

As a result, IT shops need to accelerate their migration plans, Gartner analysts said. And that could prove to be pricey.

"Based on an accelerated upgrade, we expect that the proportion of the budget spent on PCs will need to increase between 20 percent as a best-case scenario and 60 percent at worst in 2011 and 2012,"  Steve Kleynhans, Gartner Research Vice President, is quoted as saying. Assuming that PCs account for 15 percent of a typical IT budget, this means that this percentage will increase to 18 percent (best case) and 24 percent (worst case) which could have a profound effect on IT spending and on funding for associated projects during both those years."

For organizations that decide to replace all their PCs with Windows 7 ones, Gartner is estimating that for a 10,000-PC enterprise shop, the migration cost per PC will be between $1,205 and $1,999, depending on how well-managed the environment is. For a 10,000-PC shop where existing PCs are upgraded to run Windows 7, the migration cost per PC will be between $1,274 and $2,069, depending on how well-managed the PC environment is, according to Gartner.

Gartner has more Windows 7 migration data in its $195 report entitled "“Prepare for Your Windows 7 Migration Crunch."

I asked Microsoft officials whether they agreed with these estimates and was told the company had no comment.

Do these estimated migration costs sound right? Should they be balanced against cost savings around security/patching, etc.? And are migrations from XP and Windows 2000 really going to take four-plus years if they aren't expedited, in your view?

Topics: Software, Hardware, IT Priorities, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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