And for customers on Windows XP that are undecided about which OS to move to: "Make sure you take into consideration the risk of skipping Windows Vista," Schuster said. "And know that deploying Windows Vista now will make the future transition to Windows 7 easier."
Yet, "If you are on Windows XP now and are waiting for Windows 7 ... plan on starting an early evaluation of Windows 7 for your company using the beta that's available now," Schuster said. "Testing and remediating applications on Windows Vista will ease your Windows 7 deployment due to the high degree of compatibility."
However, Schuster warned that users waiting to move directly from Windows XP to Windows 7 may find their company in situations where applications are no longer supported on Windows XP and not yet supported on Windows 7.
Moreover, regarding XP users moving directly to Windows 7, Schuster also said in the post:
""You will want to take time to evaluate Windows 7 just as you evaluate any new operating system for your environment prior to deployment. ... As Windows 7 is planned to be released in about 3 years after Windows Vista, the total period that many customers will likely be waiting prior to deploying Windows 7 in their environment will likely be in the range of 5 years after Windows Vista release.""
Schuster said many of the observations in her post and relating to Microsoft's guidance came out of conversations she has had with Microsoft customers over the last month or two.
"People say, 'We're in the middle of a Vista deployment and then you come out with Windows 7 beta; what should I do?''' Schuster said in an interview with eWEEK.
She said the CIOs she has spoken with are, particularly in this economy, trying to drive cost out of their IT organizations and are also handling the increasing pressures of the consumerization of IT. Windows Vista and Windows 7, along with MDOP, can help CIOs accomplish both goals, Schuster said, adding that Windows Vista is no longer plagued by the issues that cropped up in the months after it was released.
Moreover, Schuster said, some people ask, "Is the investment in Vista wasted?"
"No, we believe in the investment we made in Vista," Schuster said. "We built Windows 7 on top of Vista. This is not like Windows Millennium" where Microsoft essentially threw out the Millennium technology and moved to Windows XP. "It will be easier to run a heterogeneous environment of Windows Vista and Windows 7 together."