Five myths about Windows 7 migration debunked

Unisys executive says it’s work, but migration will pay off

An executive of Unisys is urging more enterprises to migrate to Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system by arguing, somewhat counterintuitively, that it’s not as easy a decision as some make it out to be, but it’s still a smart move.

Sam Gross, vice president of global IT outsourcing solutions at Unisys -- whose consulting services include managing software migrations -- defined five myths about Windows 7 migration on his IT 2.0 blog Wednesday, the same day Unisys released a poll of enterprises on migration. Among 133 respondents to the poll, Unisys reported that only 21 percent had a migration project “underway” while a combined 53 percent “haven’t started” or “aren’t migrating.” Twenty-five percent said they were “piloting Windows 7.”

Unisys described the migration, appropriately, as “sluggish.”

To give enterprises a more clear-eyed view of what migration will involve, Gross sought to dispel these five myths about the project:

Myth 1: You have an accurate sense of the scope of the migration. Truth: Gross says IT managers may have a “ballpark figure” of the number of PCs in their enterprise, but they will likely overlook a number of other devices and software that comes in contact with the OS. To avoid problems later, he suggests companies take the time up front, perhaps three months, to conduct a thorough inventory of all hardware and software that touches the desktop.

Myth 2: Windows 7 will fit seamlessly into your current desktop infrastructure. Truth: You do need to determine compatibility with the local area network, support servers and management tools that make up the desktop infrastructure and upgrade or replace components as necessary.

Myth 3: Windows 7 will extend the life of your current PCs. Truth: While Windows 7 does make more efficient use of the CPU and memory in a computer, don’t let that be an excuse to hold onto ancient desktop PCs. A newer PC will be able to take advantage of the enhanced graphics capabilities and other performance improvements in Windows 7.

Myth 4: Migrating to Windows 7 will automatically lower IT costs. Truth: While Windows 7 does offer efficiencies that can lower IT costs, the OS alone won’t deliver optimum efficiency, Gross writes. Enterprises should use the migration as an opportunity to introduce other efficiencies such as establishing standard desktop images and removing unnecessary apps.

Myth 5: Windows 7 will automatically reduce your management burden. Truth: You wish. “No OS can manage your desktop environment for you,” Gross states, adding that a new OS can help IT managers start with a “clean slate ... and clear away much of the desktop chaos that’s grown organically over the past years.”

Windows 7 has been widely praised as a well-designed operating system and is hugely popular in the consumer space, though less so in the enterprise. I’m hoping that if enterprises approach migration with their eyes wide open -- and with the advice Gross is sharing -- they’ll move forward with their migration plans more quickly.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

IT Salary Survey 2021: The results are in