Well, It’s been almost a year since I first dated Windows 7. From Beta1 to RCs and RTM, I have seen windows 7 evolving. And unlike Vista, I’ve seen it improving day-by-day to the point where I had it declared on my walls, “I’m in love”.
The Love was first expressed by deep down Review of Windows 7 vs. XP, Vista
Being fascinated by the OS, I’ve decided to write a series blogs on Why Windows 7, and this one is Part 1. So in this one, I`ll discuss why Enterprise and business should consider Upgrading XP, Vista to Windows 7.
Before we start, I would anticipate I’ve been using Snow Leopard as well. Though it’s a neatly polished OS, it still isn’t as Enterprise friendly as Windows.
Journey to Multicore
Today, most of the business PCs and Laptops are Multicore (at least Dual core). Windows XP came into being when dual core was not even commercialized, as a result, the OS natively had poor support for multicore CPU. The Result: Poor performance. Though Kernel Patches tried to fix the loss, but it never fixed the problem from the ground. Vista tried to leverage multicore but became “Platform Independent”- No Matter what hardware you give it, it runs like crap.
The power of Multicore processors have been taken in almost all the possible places. Even during Startup, shutdown, Hibernate/resume.
I`ll discuss more about the kind of Optimizations in upcoming posts.
This is the first improvement one would notice over Vista. On a cold boot, Windows Vista could eat up more than GB of RAM just to satisfy it’s own greedy needs. Windows 7 remarkably reduced the usage and provided actual user to fill up the RAM with their applications. Of course, Win 7 uses almost 40% more RAM than XP, But, I believe that’s acceptable. XP came more than 6 years ago. during this time frame, the RAM has gone-up by 300% on a typical PC.
The RAM optimizations play important role during Multi-tasking. Windows 7 tries it’s best to re-use memory. e.g. when there are multiple windows opened (with Aero enabled) it uses the same memory to store info about multiple windows having identical characteristics. In Windows Vista, this was poorly implemented and in XP the need was never felt.
Improvements for Remote Access:
Most Enterprise and business employees do a frequent remote access to company’s resources. This often needs slow and expensive VPN concentrators. Windows 7 has few new features that can change the trend.
DirectAccess: Windows 7 provides this network technology that enables the user to seamlessly access corporate network resources when on the Internet, without having to create a VPN connection.
BranchCache: Windows 7 offers an alternative to alleviate the problems of slow connectivity, delivering increased network responsiveness of applications and giving users in remote offices an experience more like working in the head office. When BranchCache is enabled, a copy of data accessed from an intranet web site or a file server is cached locally within a branch office.
(Both of the above features need windows 2008 Server)
Windows 7 is much more secure than Windows XP. The basic proof is: connect it to internet, download software software and use it for a week. Count the no. of viruses vs. XP and Vista. Windows 7 is much lesser prone to vulnerabilities found naked in XP, Vista. Thanks to Better Windows Firewall, defender, the need of 3rd party aniti-virus, firewalls is less-felt.
Other Security features for enterprise include:
- BitLocker: protect data on PCs and removable drives, with manageability to enforce encryption and backup of recovery keys.
- AppLocker: Flexible, easy-to-use mechanism that enables IT professionals to specify exactly what is allowed to run on user desktops. It restricts unauthorized software while allowing applications, installation programs, and scripts that users need.
Virtualization: Virtualization is becoming the core part of almost every Enterprise. Thought he solutions like VirtualIron, VMware, VSphere, VirtualBox,etc are fair enough, still a native Virtualization is needed.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) optimizations delivers desktop functionality in Windows 7 using virtual machines hosted on servers—a solution known as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). VDI enables users to access their desktops remotely as well as the ability to reuse virtual machine (VHD) images to boot a physical PC. Windows 7 provides for better user experience in VDI scenarios, with better graphics, audio and local device support.
Unlike its predecessor, Windows 7’s robust compatibility with the majority of corporate applications makes it a sure winner in the enterprise.
Vista’s weakness in this critical area killed its prospects in the enterprise. “Vista was pretty much off the table [because of compatibility issues]. Windows 7 doesn’t have that buzz,”
Convergent conducted a series of tests with the Microsoft Application Compatibility Framework and the five applications passed with a 100 percent hit rate. The systems integrator also did a test with another client, a law firm, which often experience compatibility issues because of the number of plug-ins and add-ons used in legal circles. They were pleasantly surprised with the results.
“It just works better out of the box for application compatibility. We tested 147 applications and the return was 100 percent compatibility. Vista had a 20 to 30 percent incompatibility rate for the line of business stuff.”
Upgrading: with SCCM – System center Configuration Manager
So if you made your mind to upgrade, how to do it seamlessly? SCCM is the solution. It will enable seamless OS Upgrades during night.
The Technology is based on Intel’s vPro which lets software understand the power state of the device. On a remote request, it can wake up a PC (including Laptops) to have OS Upgrades. Wake-up on LAN is an old technology but it was not-routable. The new vPro enables it over TCP/IP, making it possible to do a enterprise wide (with multiple subnets) upgrades with a click of a button during night times. and when it’s done, PC can be shutdown again.
There’s a lot more that SCCM is capable of doing.