Windows 10 Arrival Heralds New Era for ChannelBy Michael Vizard | Print
NEWS ANALYSIS: For the channel, the most important thing about Windows 10 may be the cloud services and associated consulting opportunities it will enable.
With the formal release today of Windows 10, Microsoft is clearly looking forward to the beginning of a new era where services are delivered via what is rapidly becoming a gateway to the cloud.
Although no can be certain at what rate IT organizations will migrate to cloud, optimism across the Microsoft ecosystem is fairly high.
"We're seeing a high level of interest from our corporate customers," said Peter Fontana, director of the software program management office at Dell. "From what we're hearing from Microsoft, we think most of the activity will be in 2016 versus the usual 18- to 24-month upgrade cycle."
To help spur that demand, Dell like most PC manufacturers unveiled today a raft of PCs and services that support Windows 10. Of course, spurring much of the initial upgrade activity is the simple fact that upgrades to Windows 10 as of today are free for one year. The degree to which IT organizations will take advantage of that opportunity to migrate to Windows 10 using existing systems—versus waiting to buy new ones—remains to be seen. However, doing an in-place migration might not be practical on many of the systems still running Windows 7 today.
On the plus side for Microsoft, a recent survey of 500 IT professionals conducted by Spiceworks, a provider of IT management tools, finds that not only did 90 percent of them say they are interested in Windows 10; a full 60 percent said their IT organization has already evaluated a preview copy.
Sanjay Castelino, vice president of marketing for Spiceworks, said much of that interest is being driven by the enhanced management and security functions that Microsoft has embedded inside Windows 10, the fact that the upgrade itself is free for the first year and the fact that Windows 10 seems to be a much more natural migration from Windows 7 than Windows 8 ever was.
"Simple things like including the Start Button in Windows 10 make a big difference," Castelino said. "Most of these organizations are still running Windows 7."
But there's also a world of difference between an IT professional running Windows 10 to evaluate and a company making a commitment to run Windows 10 in production. A survey of 186 Microsoft customers conducted by Adaptiva, a provider of operating system migration and deployment tools, finds that 71 percent plan to wait at least six months after the Windows 10 release date to migrate, with 49% planning to wait a year or more.
"Enthusiasm for Windows 10 does not necessarily mean organizations are ready to take on the migration challenges," Adaptiva CTO Deepak Kumar said. "Upgrades are still a logistical nightmare."