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New research
from recent Dell acquisition Kace
finds 87 percent of IT professionals surveyed
plan to deploy Windows 7, up dramatically from a similar study done in April
2009.

Of more significance to the channel, almost half of the 900 respondents plan
to move to Windows 7 before the anticipated summer release of Service Pack 1.
Even better for Microsoft—and perhaps Dell Kace—those considering alternative
operating systems to avoid Windows decreased from 50 to 32 percent.

The real eye-opener of the fourth such survey is the number of respondents
intending to move to the OS before the release of SP1, says Dell Kace’s vice
president of marketing, Wynn White.

"That was a big highlight for us, a lot of confidence in the release.
Microsoft seems to have got it right," White says.

That’s great news for the business unit that targets organizations with 500 to
5,000 PCs with a very quick time to value. Customers can be up and running in
as little as one day and the typical ROI is under three months. Margins are
also very attractive, Kace
tells Channel Insider.

The new study attributes increased confidence in Windows 7’s performance,
security and stability to an overwhelming change of heart. According to Diane
Hagglund, senior research analyst for Dimensional Research and the survey’s
author, another driver is the fact that Windows XP is reaching its end of life.

"As Windows XP becomes out of date and more expensive to support and with Vista
[being] increasingly insignificant, IT leaders are embracing Windows 7,"
Hagglund says. "Based on previous research, Windows 7 deployments are
dramatically ahead of planned Vista deployments at a similar stage in the OS
life cycle, with most respondents skipping Vista altogether."

Key survey findings include:

  • 87 percent of survey respondents plan to deploy Windows 7,
    compared with 47 percent who had plans to deploy Vista at a comparable point after its
    release;
  • 46 percent of the total surveyed revealed they have plans to
    migrate even before the release of SP1;
  • 86 percent reported concern about software compatibility when
    migrating to Windows 7;
  • 25 percent expressed concerns about Windows 7 performance, down
    from 47 percent reported during the 2009 survey; and
  • 32 percent are considering alternative operating systems to avoid
    Windows Vista or Windows 7, down from 50 percent in
    2009.

The last is a very telling result, says White. "It’s the first time
we’ve really seen it take a fall since we started asking that question."

To him that means Microsoft has rebuilt the confidence that was undermined
by the Vista release and given new life to the Windows
OS.

Kbox did well with the Windows 7 release and, now known as the Dell Kace
Appliance, it should do even better under the new conditions, says White. Even
better, Kace also manages Apple Macintosh and Linux clients. "The reality
is more and more organizations are getting more and more mixed environments
today," he says.

The study is also good news for the channel, White says. "A large-shift
migration to a new operating system has a cascading effect on the entire IT
organization." Most organizations have held off on doing a hardware
refresh during the economic downturn, and it now looks like they will be
spending a lot in a short time frame.

"From a channel perspective, the migration to
Windows 7 is a boon," White says, adding that a number of Kace partners
are reporting that this refresh is taking place.

As for life under Dell, White says it’s a very good fit. The company was one of
Kace’s largest resellers prior to the acquisition, and now it has even greater
access to both its internal sales teams as well as its much larger channel.
"So far, we’re seeing tremendous traction and acceleration in our business
because of it."