Corporate PCs: Underpowered for Vista. Overpowered for Writely?

Corporate PCs: Underpowered for Vista. Overpowered for Writely?

Summary: I'm not singling out Google's Writely because I think it has a better shot against Microsoft's Office than any other Web-based contender.  I just needed to pick one (of the many Web-based offerings) to make a point that Microsoft could be seriously shooting itself in the foot if what Gartner says is true.

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TOPICS: Windows
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I'm not singling out Google's Writely because I think it has a better shot against Microsoft's Office than any other Web-based contender.  I just needed to pick one (of the many Web-based offerings) to make a point that Microsoft could be seriously shooting itself in the foot if what Gartner says is true.  According to InformationWeek's Antone Gonsalves (via Bob Sutor's blog):

About half of corporate PCs aren't equipped to run all the features of Windows Vista, and companies should gradually deploy the upcoming operating system on new computers, rather than take the more costly alternative of upgrading older ones, Gartner said last week.

The story goes on to cite Gartner analyst Mike Silver who basically said that from a shock to the coporate digital infrastructure perspective, Vista will be more like upgrading to Windows 2000 [from Windows 98 and NT I'm assuming] than upgrading to Windows XP [from Windows 2000, I'm assuming]. 

What struck me as being sort of odd is that there's no mention  (either by the InfoWeek reporter or the Gartner analyst) about whether it's finally time for corporate America to rethink the upgrade treadmill by going back to the future.  After all, there are plenty of older PCs that have more than enough horsepower to run browser-based office offerings like Writely that are starting to come of age.  So, how much has corporate America paid for hardware over the last three or four versions of Windows just to make sure it can continue to run its software?  I don't know.  But now seems like a good time to ask whether or not more is actually less.

Topic: Windows

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  • Vista Will Be Well Worth The Upgrade

    What is wrong with the upgrade treadmill? If it wasn?t for it, the PC industry would not see as much innovation as it sees today. So you have to pay periodically for new hardware and software. But many of the things you can do now with PCs, simply wouldn?t be possible, if people bought new hardware and software every 10 years or so. As for using web based software: I want for the most part, my data, programs, etc. under my control ? not someone else?s. Then there is the responsiveness issue; the fact that web based programs typically have only a fraction of the features as their desktop counterparts; they are not as flexible, etc. Believe me, the tons of new features companies will see in Vista will be well worth the upgrade.
    P. Douglas
    • Please elaborate

      [i]But many of the things you can do now with PCs, simply wouldn?t be possible, if people bought new hardware and software every 10 years or so.[/i]

      Such as? I confess to being a speed freak and power addict, but then the main professional software I use has been 64-bits for the last ten years.

      On the other hand, none of the corporate users I know are doing anything that stresses the system. Please tell me what they do that they couldn't with (for instance) 1998-era systems.

      [i]As for using web based software: I want for the most part, my data, programs, etc. under my control ? not someone else?s.[/i]

      I know what you mean. So did one of our production managers, right up until her hard drive croaked. Millions of dollars in product on hold while we sent it off to a forensic recovery shop.

      There's something to be said for keeping corporate data on maintained servers.

      [i]Then there is the responsiveness issue; the fact that web based programs typically have only a fraction of the features as their desktop counterparts; they are not as flexible, etc.[/i]

      The $50,000/seat software that we use here all runs on compute servers, with the desktop machines strictly for I/O; they're effectively glorified dumb terminals. We do it that way because running those programs locally isn't any faster and with them running on a server you don't lose your work if someone trips over the power cord (or your basic hang/BSOD/RSOD/whatever.)

      I admit that browser apps aren't quite there with X11 or Citrix or VNC for interactive latency, but that's correctable in any of several ways.

      [i]Believe me, the tons of new features companies will see in Vista will be well worth the upgrade.[/i]

      Even fanbois like Paul Thurrott are saying it's a yawner.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
      • Re: Please elaborate

        [i][u]But many of the things you can do now with PCs, simply wouldn?t be possible, if people bought new hardware and software every 10 years or so.[/u]

        Such as? I confess to being a speed freak and power addict, but then the main professional software I use has been 64-bits for the last ten years.

        On the other hand, none of the corporate users I know are doing anything that stresses the system. Please tell me what they do that they couldn't with (for instance) 1998-era systems.[/i]

        Java and .Net programming, multimedia applications, Tablet PC functionality, etc. Remember also, many things that were possible 8 years ago on PCs took a long time to do compared to now. E.g. web browsing, working with Office (and just about all applications), benefited appreciably from using more powerful hardware.

        [i][u]As for using web based software: I want for the most part, my data, programs, etc. under my control ? not someone else?s.[/u]

        I know what you mean. So did one of our production managers, right up until her hard drive croaked. Millions of dollars in product on hold while we sent it off to a forensic recovery shop.

        There's something to be said for keeping corporate data on maintained servers.[/i]

        I would never work directly from files on a network unless I had to. Every network I have ever worked on has had problems. It is my experience that it is more efficient to work locally with your data, then copy your files to a server at the end of the day, or when you are through.

        [i][u]Then there is the responsiveness issue; the fact that web based programs typically have only a fraction of the features as their desktop counterparts; they are not as flexible, etc.[/u]

        The $50,000/seat software that we use here all runs on compute servers, with the desktop machines strictly for I/O; they're effectively glorified dumb terminals. We do it that way because running those programs locally isn't any faster and with them running on a server you don't lose your work if someone trips over the power cord (or your basic hang/BSOD/RSOD/whatever.)[/i]

        In just about all my real world experiences, when people do heavy work on servers, they often buckle under the load, and it becomes a waste of time for others trying to do their work on the same servers or network. In heavy load situations, it is far better that someone does as much work as possible locally, then copy his work to the server when he is finished.
        P. Douglas
        • Client Server, again

          IBM was a great proponent of "server based computing"
          Servers are always 100,000 times as fast as workstations, so 1,000 people can work so much faster on the server. Each morning when 1,000 people logon and start their programs, the network responds immediately, and the server reads its hard drive 10,000 times faster than a desktops drive and work begins.

          Server hard drives never crash, tape back ups always can be restored.
          So it goes in the imaginary client server world.

          IBM quietly dropped this model after starting to roll it out to executives, who, even though executives use little CPU or Data, or band with, login times exceeded 30 minutes, and they would not wait for the system to respond to their needs.

          Len
          llundgren@...
        • Oh god, the "innovation" sychophant again

          [Java and .Net programming, multimedia applications, Tablet PC functionality, etc. Remember also, many things that were possible 8 years ago on PCs took a long time to do compared to now. E.g. web browsing, working with Office (and just about all applications), benefited appreciably from using more powerful hardware.]

          Java is 10+ years old. .NOT is a global search-and-replace job on Java that only runs on M$ (don't talk to me about catching "Mono"). Tablet PCs are a "so what" technology.

          You talk about "innovation" when talking about Riska, but then your only real example is HARDWARE. I fail to see ANY connection between hardware speed advances and software.

          The last few years have seen little innovation in software (and hardware as clock speeds have not ticked up). MOST of the time has been spent with "security" software issues - and making money on that. Innovation is coming up with new (faster) ways to do old tasks. Invention is coming up with new tasks. Neither one is coming out of Redmond today.
          Roger Ramjet
        • Web Browsing? Java?

          I was designing web pages and browsing the web with the Netscape products in 1994! In 1995/96 I prefered Netscape over IE as IE at the time choked on Java, it would lock up. Netscape didn't do that.

          All that is moot becuase there was Mosiac prior to that and Lynx prior to that. Also the Brother GeoBook had a web browser and it was circa 1996! Most locked down Corp PC's don't provide any more functionality over a Geobook BTW. I wish Brother would bring it back.
          Edward Meyers
  • Vista is an OS, Writely is a simple word processor

    Is there something about a blog that allows you to write stuff that
    makes no sense. I worry about the state of tech journalism when I
    see this sensless stuff. Vista <> Writely, and the fact that
    corporations might not want to attempt to upgrade all of their
    computers at once to Vista has little bearing on whether they might
    want to begin using Writely over Word.
    jjmullaney@...
    • Forest and trees

      It's not about writely per se and I said as much. It's about thinking twice as to whether a full blown operating system and a powerful machine to run it is really what you need in front of you, on your desk, or, if it's time to do a complete infrastructure architecture rethink.

      db
      dberlind
  • Vista is a dog

    I have tried the vista beta's and I feel that it is a dog. It offers no "great new features" and is simply Slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Even on updated hardware.
    Do yourself a favour and stay with what you have be it XP, linux or google's latest stuff. (I think they will end up build an OS at some point too) it would make perfect sense for them to do it what better way to grab market share. (Afterall that's what microsoft did with rubbish os that were cheaper than the much better alternatives remember os/2?)
    madhead@...
    • Vista is a dog

      Yes Vista is a dog I tride it out on my pc AMD 3800X2@2ghz 2Gig's dual channel memory etc. it is a load of cr--!
      loydc1@...