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Desktop OS Strategy … come on 7!

If a discussion of your aging Desktop OS hasn’t started in your organization yet, it should.  If your desktops are running happily on Windows XP, you’d better start considering the upgrade to Windows 7 …  however uncomfortable thoughts of migrating might be.   The reality is this:  Microsoft has announced that the end of Extended Support for XP is April 8, 2014.

That’s just under 4 years away … You might be wondering “what’s the hurry?”

Well, the channel support will likely dry up before then.  I suspect that most application vendors will stop support for new apps on XP by the end of 2012.  The more general point to emphasize is this:

Organizational change takes time.  And as they say … time is money.  

On the implementation side, a significant forklift upgrade project for a medium to large size business takes 6 months or longer just to properly deploy the technology all the way out to the workstations.  A significant forklift upgrade project takes up to 6 months to design properly (including application testing,  WAN and remote access integration etc…).  It will probably take another 3 months just to pilot and test in pre-production too.  Never mind the 2-3 months you will likely spend before inking the deal trying to price out and select hardware vendors (desktops and/or laptops), support arrangements, licensing and so on.   You’re already looking at a year or more.  Yikes.

 So, if you are considering physical PCs for your next round of Desktop OS rollouts, that will likely line up with new application versioning.  Given that most new application versions will not support Windows XP, ideally, you should be done your rollout by the end of 2012.  If it takes 18 months to come up with a strategy, pilot, design, and deploy a new desktop infrastructure, the start date is … well … now! 

To be sure, there are many work arounds and application siloing possibilities, as well as the dominant virtual desktop option and each will have its pros and cons.  I’m concerned that clients may be avoiding this topic … And they need to stay ahead of the game.  These options should be seriously considered, and you need to start thinking about your desktop OS plan very soon.

Some reference material:

http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1378413

http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?LN=en-gb&C2=1173

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