Gartner: Businesses don't need to wait for Windows 7 SP1

Gartner: Businesses don't need to wait for Windows 7 SP1

Summary: Windows 7 hasn't even hit the Release Candidate test phase, but already analysts at Gartner are advising business users they shouldn't plan to wait for Service Pack 1 (SP1) to arrive before planning deployments.

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Windows 7 hasn't even hit the Release Candidate test phase, but already analysts at Gartner are advising business users they shouldn't plan to wait for Service Pack 1 (SP1) to arrive before planning deployments.

From a March 12 research note by Gartner analyst Michael Silver (a link to which Microsoft is distributing to various press folks):

"The first Service Pack for Windows 7 is not necessary for the operating system's stability and security readiness. However, organizations likely won't be ready to deploy Windows 7 before SP1 ships, so they will include it in their initial deployments."

The first part of Silver's statement is, no doubt, music to Microsoft's ears. Remember how much time and energy Microsoft officials spent trying to make the case that Vista was so solid that users didn't need to wait until SP1 to deploy it? (OK -- stop laughing now.)

Gartner is now saying what Microsoft officials have tried to assert for the past three years: SP1 shouldn't be the milestone businesses await before even starting to plan for new OS deployments. Silver wrote:

"Conventional wisdom has been that organizations need to wait for the first Service Pack to ship before they deploy a new client OS. This used to be a necessity. The availability of beta software to test the new product was not as broad as it is today, and people expected the initial release to be buggy and unstable. The first Service Pack usually would ship approximately nine to 12 months after the initial OS shipment, and would usually represent a marked improvement in stability. Today, SP1 does not represent the milestone it used to."

It's actually the second part of Silver's statement -- that most organizations won't be ready to deploy Windows 7 before SP1 ships anyway -- cuts to the heart of the matter, however.

Most businesses cannot turn on a dime. Even if they wanted to rush to deploy Windows 7 as soon as it is released, few would be able to do so, given the amount of app-compatibility testing typically required. Gartner is estimating it will take even the most Windows 7-enamored businesses 12 to 18 months to deploy the new OS. And by that time -- if Microsoft doesn't do what it did with Windows Server 2008 and declare that SP1 was already built into the first release -- SP1 for Windows 7 should be out.

It may seem early to be thinking about Windows 7 deployments -- especially for the growing number of businesses that are just now starting to implement widescale Vista deployments they've been working on for months, if not years. But if Microsoft really does release Win 7 to manufacturing in Q3 of this calendar year, as still sounds likely, maybe it's not as early as it seems....

What do you think of Gartner's premise? Will SP1 be an irrelevant deployment milestone for you when planning around future Windows deployments. Why or why not?

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

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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240 comments
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  • "OK ? stop laughing now"?

    MJ,

    i have a problem with this sentence. i call myself an IT professional. I worked as a software developer since DOS 3.0. I have worked on whole range of operating system. i DO NOT think vista has anything to laugh about. this is a solid operating system, with a solid security system. and fluent interface. yes, some old apps stop working. but that's something we know before we use it.

    people's opinion about vista is just as stupid as anything can be. I don't care that is how many millions' opinion.
    jk_10
    • Stop??? I just started

      You are too funny, ha ha ha ha...
      InAction Man
      • Re: Stop??? I just started

        I agree!!! All this proves is that Gartner is for sale to M$. NO ONE in IT jumps on a 1.0 of ANYTHING. Yeah, I'm going to risk my job by recommending that a move to Vista is a good 1 for my Company...
        rmarkle
        • No, but you'd be a fool not to be testing so you don't fall to far behind.

          I'm no M$ schill, we must face reality. If your not testing the next generation OS against your apps, be it Linux, Win7, or even blista, your company will suffer eventually. And who's going to be responsible for that?
          invmgr
          • Testing apps is far different from 'Don't wait for SP1 to Adopt'

            Usually SP2 is when M$ hits it's stride. This is a widely known fact in Corporate IT.

            I agree with deploying a few strategic servers, if only to identify an upgrade strategy. But I believe it unwise to throw out XP/Win 2k3 and just upgrade to Vista because Gartner says, "Naw, it's cool. Go ahead."
            rmarkle
          • Test is OK.

            It is fine to test and keep up on what is current, I always have a few, I want the latest junkies here, and they are capable. BUT for most of the staff here, a change from 98 to 2000 was dramatic, 2000 to XP was a drama. BUT all the applications worked and the GUI was still in place, Vista broke all that. I cannot afford to spend 4 months teaching a new GUI to people who cannot spell G-U-I and have no idea what it means...
            agohige
        • I agree.

          We are not installing Vista at all. it is not worth the effort. The software we use is not being made for Vista so why bother. Vista may be what Bluecollar said, but I am not spending my companies money on Vista trash. And yeah like bluecollar I have been in the industry from TRS80, PETCBM, 8086, DOS, even the early PC Jr's... (by then I had been working in the gaming industry for 5 years) OS changes are a load of crap. If it works for you don't mess with it.
          agohige
    • laughing

      Hi.

      My point is it was laughable for Microsoft to claim, first, that Vista SP1 didn't exist. Then they claimed it might or might not. Then it was, yes, it exists, but it is far away, so don't wait for it.

      These days, even Microsoft admits that SP1 made Vista more usuable for businesses. Microsoft execs now publicly admit that Vista wasn't ready for release when it RTM'd; it was sluggish and not at all ready, in terms of driver and app compatibility.

      That is why I said "Stop laughing now." In hindsight, Microsoft's claim that Vista didn't require an SP1 to be ready for prime-time looks ridiculous.

      Hope that helps explain my use of the phrase here. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Vista's performance and compatability issues had little to do with...

        ...Vista itself and more to do with poorly written applications and drivers. Take those same applications and drivers and use them on a Vista SP1 system and you're likely to find the performance and compatability issues remain. SP1 did address a few performance issues. And I'm certain there were some compatability improvements. However, it is my opinion, the majority of performance and compatability gains were the result of new drivers and applications.
        ye
        • So now you know more than MS?

          Interesting...
          storm14k
          • Apparently you missed the following I wrote:

            "SP1 did address a few performance issues. And I'm certain there were some compatability improvements."
            ye
          • Funny how...

            ...you knew right where to backtrack without me having to say a thing.
            storm14k
          • This is the best attempt at saving face you could muster?

            Seriously? I didn't write that much. It was a single paragraph with five sentences.
            ye
          • There was no face to save.

            You directly contradicted what MS had to say about their own product and then you tried to backtrack. Simple as that.
            storm14k
          • @storm14k: I repeat: Apparently you missed the following I wrote:

            "SP1 did address a few performance issues. And I'm certain there were some compatability improvements."

            Those words are right in line with what MS said. Which leads me to repeat something else I wrote:

            "This is the best attempt at saving face you could muster? Seriously? I didn't write that much. It was a single paragraph with five sentences."
            ye
        • More specifically

          The majority of the compatibility problems were the result of third party developers failing to adhere to Microsoft's published guidelines for developing applications. It's hard to blame Microsoft for the failure of developers who were sloppy and hacked together solutions that violated Microsoft's standards. If more developers actually knew what they were doing and paid attention, most of these headaches would vanish.
          Tiggster
          • Agree 100% (nt)

            .
            ye
          • Disagree 100%

            Microsoft knew that if they wanted Vista to be a
            success, they had to build in backwards compatibility,
            something they have claimed for every iteration of
            Windows so far and something they have failed to do in
            every iteration so far. Simply put, if you want massive
            adoption of the new OS, then the existing software
            [b]must[/b] be able to run on it in one form or another.
            Even Microsoft's vaunted [i]"Compatibility Mode"[/i] has
            been a dismal failure in every version of Windows since
            '95.

            No, the failure wasn't on the part of developers; it was
            on the part of Microsoft, first on not ensuring new
            drivers were available in time and second on not
            allowing existing drivers to at least perform minimally
            for compatibility with already-existing peripherals.

            Vista was the result of a panic situation where
            Longhorn was taking too long to develop and MS
            realized they had to at least punch something out
            before they lost relevance in the market. The problem
            is, they stripped most of what Longhorn was supposed
            to be in order to release what little they'd already
            managed to develop. Win7 is likely to be what
            Longhorn was intended to be from the beginning.
            Vulpinemac
          • Fail

            With Vista, Microsoft knew they had to BREAK stuff.

            Vista fixed many, MANY known security, reliatbility, management and operations holes. Prevening non-admin accounts from writing to Program Files and large portions of the registry (HKLM), etc., caused MANY apps to break. Whilst MS did work with many of the larger app vendors to have them fix their apps, this was not anywhere near completion for RTM and there were thousands of smaller app vendors who'd not done their due dilligence and had not tested their apps on Vista and so they broke too.

            Cycle forward 2 1/2 years.

            Most apps have now been updated to no longer longer perform actions that require admin rights. Most apps no longer write to protected file and registry locations. If you still have apps that do so, complain to your app vendor.

            Net-net: Win7 will have FAR less trouble on introduction than Vista ever did ... or could have had!
            de-void-21165590650301806002836337787023
          • Still disagree

            It wasn't until SP1 that Vista actually started working
            properly. Before that, everything I said before still stands.
            It was rushed and underwent almost ZERO Quality
            Control. This is NOT the hallmark of a company that
            cares about their image.
            Vulpinemac