BARCELONA—Microsoft officials are seeing a sharp increase in the number of businesses that are starting to test Windows Vista in their environments, and the software maker is looking to fuel that trend with updated tools that help with the testing and migration planning process.
Among these is Microsoft Deployment—formally known as Business Desktop Deployment 2007—which provides detailed guidance and aids large-scale deployment projects. Microsoft Deployment can be used to deploy Windows Vista, Office 2007, Windows Server 2003 and prerelease versions of Windows Server 2008.
It now also integrates with other deployment technologies such as System Center Configuration Manager 2007 and the Windows Automated Installation Kit to create a single path for image creation and automated installation, Stella Chernyak, group product manager for Windows client, told eWEEK here at the TechEd IT Forum.
The software maker has opened up beta testing for the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator, a newer and expanded version of the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment Tool, an inventory, assessment, and reporting product that checks computers on the network to see if they are ready to run Vista and Office 2007.
The upcoming release will add support for Windows Server 2008, Vista Service Pack 1 and System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP1 deployments.
Microsoft Deployment includes Version 5 of the Application Compatibility Toolkit, which has been updated to support the .Net Framework 2.0 and should help customers more quickly test and remediate their line of business applications, Chernyak said.
To help make the migration to Windows Vista as seamless as possible, Microsoft created the Application Compatibility Factory, which connects enterprise customers with selected partners who offer application compatibility and remediation services.
Read more here about how Microsoft has helped ease Vista deployment.
Another component of Microsoft Deployment is the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment solution accelerator, which offers increased scalability and is designed to help them decide which PCs should be upgraded to Vista and Office 2007, along with what hardware and device upgrades will be necessary, Chernyak said.
Version 2.1 also offers IP-range targeting and non-Windows device discovery, and is localized in seven languages: English, German, French, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese.
The third component of Microsoft Deployment is the User State Migration Tools Version 3.0, which lets customers conduct remote migrations of multiple computers from Windows XP to Vista while saving all user files and settings.
"Our customers and partners are using these tools to help them prepare to deploy and move to Windows Vista, which is evident in the fact that the Windows Hardware Assessment tool has been downloaded 329,000 times during the last eight months, the business desktop deployment 2007 tool has been downloaded 283,000 times, and the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0 has been downloaded more than 340,000 times since February," Chernyak said.
The fact that many businesses had waited a year to start testing Vista for deployment was not unusual and followed the same adoption pattern with the earlier Windows releases, she said, adding that the spike in interest was not just due to SP1.
Read more here about the six Vista migration tools Microsoft rolled out.
Microsoft was also helping business customers decide whether a complete migration to Vista was the route to go, or if they should just do so as they refreshed their hardware, she said.
"This is a big change for us given how we previously used to focus pretty much just on getting them to move all of their machines across," Chernyak said.
Microsoft has also introduced an online resource called "The Springboard Series," which is part of TechNet and provides a portfolio of recommended materials and resources about the Vista adoption life cycle based on early adopter and community experiences and feedback.
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