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Business as usual for enterprise migrations to Windows 10

Gregg Keizer | July 31, 2015
The new OS may sport a new servicing model -- constant updates and changes -- but companies will upgrade the way they've always done, analysts say.

"Most customers could do small pilots over the next 6-9 months [with Windows 10], but real production roll-outs still take time and planning and have a lot of moving parts to coordinate," said Steve Kleynhans, an analyst at Gartner, in an email. "You don't rush into that, and as such we are recommending customers take 2016 to plan and prepare and look to late 2016 or early 2017 as the start of broad production deployments."

Both Gillen of IDC and Smith of Forrester agreed, saying that the majority of Microsoft's business customers won't seriously begin shifting to Windows 10 until two to three years from now.

While migration timing won't appreciably speed up, the analysts contended that the process itself would accelerate and the time required to complete the migration would shorten.

"Some of the complexity is gone, and this should be an easier migration" than the one from XP to Windows 7, said Johnson, who spotlighted application compatibility as a major reason for a smoother move. "Fewer apps will need to be remediated," he added.

Gillen echoed Johnson. "The upgrade will be a lot less problematic," Gillen said. "There aren't the application compatibility issues that people ran into moving from Windows XP to Windows 7. And the upgrade process in Windows 10 is a lot less destructive."

For all Microsoft's prodding of businesses to quickly adopt Windows 10 -- driven by its goal of getting a billion devices on the new OS within three years -- the real deadline for enterprises is Jan. 14, 2020, the last day that Microsoft will provide security patches for Windows 7.

"In a couple of years, the pressure to upgrade will start to increase," said Gillen, referring to the 2020 deadline. "But between now and then, there's not really any."

"Businesses do need to keep in mind that Windows 7 leaves extended support in January 2020," said Kleynhans. "[But] the timetable should be set by the customer based on their business needs, not on Microsoft's timetable."

Enterprises, in other words, should essentially tell Microsoft, "Don't rush us."


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