Ina Fried, a Staff Writer for CNET News.com, recently reported that, "While Microsoft is still pushing Vista hard, the company is quietly allowing PC makers to offer a "downgrade" option to buyers that get machines with the new operating system but want to switch to Windows XP."
I have talked with people at a number of firms who use large numbers of desktops and they are still one or two years away from a switch. I suspect Vista will only be adopted as Windows XP systems "age-out". where replacement systems come bundled with Vista. Allowing PC makers to offer "downgraded" may slow that down.
For many IT managers, the return on investment (ROI) case for upgrading XP desktops to Vista may be hard to make. Starting with a baseline of functionality with XP, they spend a lot of money on new Vista licenses and perhaps more money on upgrading the PC hardware and end up with a new Vista baseline that has similar functionality. All of those costs for a marginal improvement are hard to justify. I wonder how many managers will emphasis just how many problems they have with their current environment - which they are responsible for - to increase the value of the upgrade?
A different strategy could be to Virtualizing the PC desktop with the Sun Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (Sun VDI) Software. Sun VDI offers users a highly-secure platform for accessing virtualized Microsoft Windows desktop environments from a wide variety of client devices. It can be installed on Solaris and Linux operating systems.
"New Sun Desktop Virtualization Software Improves Desktop Security and Ease of Management", says:
Sun previewed the Sun Virtual Desktop Infrastructure software at VMworld 2007 September 11-13 in San Francisco. They also previewed Project Appia, an integration of Sun VDI Software with VMware Infrastructure. New connectivity features utilize management interfaces available in VMware VI3 to administer virtual desktop life cycles while providing users access to their virtual desktops from nearly any modern client. Project Appia is planned for release in early 2008 as a component of Sun Virtual Desktop Solutions and will support VMware VI3 deployments, with others to follow.Adding Vista into a managed VDI environment may be a better strategy to address desktop management while providing improved security and flexibility for users and IT managers.