Is Vista advice from Gartner worth it?

In my mind, either you want to upgrade to the latest software and set a date to migrate or you choose to go to a different platform. I'm sure there will be plenty of Linux or Mac readers who will cheer the latter option, but what exactly is the purpose of declaring some arbitrary date 3 years from now to upgrade to Vista?

[Updated 11/15/2005 11:42 AM] When I read saw this story on Gartner selling advice on "Why you don't need Vista until 2008", it had me scratching my head wondering how anyone could come up with an arbitrary date like.  I'm the type of person that would prefer to run on the latest version of FreeBSD, Linux Kernel, or Windows because of all the improvements that come with the latest software, so I just can't understand Gartner's reasoning.  It's probably the same kind of reasoning that lead Gartner to declare the death of Signature based virus detection four years ago and we all know how that prediction turned out.  If you missed that prediction and want to catch up on it or you want to read this new paper on Windows Vista, you'll need to fork out $95 to read either paper.

In my mind, either you want to upgrade What's best for the silent majority of organizations committed to Windows? to the latest software and set a date to migrate or you choose to go to a different platform.  I'm sure there will be plenty of Linux or Mac readers who will cheer the latter option, but what exactly is the purpose of declaring some arbitrary date 3 years from now to upgrade to Vista?  It isn't really good to have rigid OS standards anyway, which leads to absurd practices like IT departments stripping brand new computers of Windows XP w/SP2 and replacing them with an old copy of Windows 98 or Windows NT.  The usual excuse for this absurd policy is that the new OS isn't tested even though Windows XP is already 4 years old?

Some of Gartner's arguments actually seem to bolster the use of Vista rather than their actual recommendation to delay the adoption of Windows Vista.  They note that Vista's IE (Internet Explorer) 7.0 will have the ability to run in Reduced Privilege mode which significantly limits the damage from any potential known or unknown flaw in IE 7.0.  Somehow Gartner managed to turn this in to a reason to avoid Vista.

What Gartner probably won't mention is the fact that Windows Vista will improve OS and Application load times which makes it a lot more human friendly.  The other really significant feature for IT departments is the ability to cut down on the number of Vista hardware images.  Windows XP typically requires a unique image for different computer models, but Windows Vista will allow you to make a Vista image for a very broad range of hardware making it easier to do "big bang" installations across heterogeneous hardware platforms.  Vista Enterprise edition also comes with Virtual PC which allows you to run an older OS for legacy applications or a sandbox for testing software.  For those who don't have the Enterprise edition of Vista, they can use the free VMWare Player to run legacy applications.

There will always be detractors of any Windows operating system and I'm sure they're going to show up in droves to flame me but this blog really isn't for them [John made a good point that this was a bad choice of words on my part and I apologize.  It wasn't my intention to lock anyone out of the debate.]  The question is what's best for the silent majority of organizations who are committed to Windows and what's best for them.  Microsoft Vista delivers better performance, better security, and better image management.  Any one of those three benefits alone are compelling reasons to migrate.

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