Choose your future vista carefully

Choose your future vista carefully

Summary: Vista's hardly off the blocks, but already there's strong commitment to upgrade. Stop and ask yourself whether that's the future you want

SHARE:
TOPICS: IT Employment
2

There are two big questions about Vista: how well will it do its job, and is that a job that'll be worth doing?

The first question can only be answered by time. We can discount Microsoft's marketing message: every new operating system has set new standards for security, speed and usability before its release — and every time, reality isn't quite as the company imagined it. No plan of battle survives contact with the enemy — so we'll only know how Vista will perform in the real world once it's been out there for a few months.

The second question is more interesting. We do know that of all the big, exciting advances in enterprise IT in the last five years, none has happened in the desktop operating system — and few enough in the server OS. Services, networking, management, security, virtualisation, everything web shaped: these have arrived incrementally and largely independent of the operating system. The landscape constantly evolves: big bang upgrades haven't been part of the scene for years. Vista will work happily here — but then, so will XP — or Linux, or OS X.

Both these questions show clearly that the essential question of "Why upgrade to Vista?" can't be answered. It's just not possible yet to do the basic risk versus reward analysis. Doubtless, Vista will turn out in time to be a usefully better version of Windows. When that is — and whether it'll be worth the price — we don't know. Neither does anyone else.

So it's interesting to find out from our own survey that fully a quarter of respondents are planning to make the trip within six months. There's always a difference between what the industry talks about and what it does, but rarely is the gap so graphic. Whatever the reasons — we'll be chasing those down — they're not going to be based on technology-driven ROI. IT budgets have to be spent, support deals concluded, hardware refresh cycles synchronised to operating system choices.

That's the way it's always been done, and that may not be good enough for the future. Try as we might, we can't make the future we see — at least, the future we hope for — depend on Vista. And any future that does, doesn't seem like a place we'd like to be.

So now's a good time to pause before you write that cheque. What happens next doesn't depend on what Microsoft says, what analysts predict or what journalists hope for. It depends on what you do, what you decide. You're making the future: don't sleepwalk into it.

 

Topic: IT Employment

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

2 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Vista wil be great for my business

    The massive minimum spec; the intrusive license scheme; the built in user monitoring that reportedly sends everyhting back to Bill, it's all fantastic for the growing Linux sector. I am now quite regularly talking to people about the practicalities of moving their systems away from Microsoft. These are the same people that a year or three ago were poopooing Linux in rounded terms.

    To my mind, Microsoft should stick to their guns!
    Andrew Meredith
  • Writing For The Sake of Writing

    This wasn't really a news worthy article. It just warned to look into all aspects of Vista before deciding to upgrade like all IT professionals have blank cheque books to go buy anything they want.
    I think you'll find most IT departments will do all the research they need to before upgrading and it won't be a case of it being a mistake to go to Vista for most Microsoft shops. It's part of the natural progression of any IT department. If people deploy without testing then they deserve to experience problems.
    kuttingedge