More than a year after its introduction, Windows 7 adoption is at only 10 percent in the enterprise market. Prowess, a maker of software to simplify migration, is improving its tools to accomplish increased adoption of Windows 7, even as its CEO expresses skepticism at industry optimism that 2011 may be "The Year of Windows 7."
Prowess introduced on Tuesday the latest version of its SmartDeploy Enterprise software deployment toolkit, which creates a virtual disk image of Windows 7, associated software and other configuration settings and then replicates that image to servers and desktop computers on the network. It works with any version of Windows, such as XP or Windows Server 2003 and 2008; 32-bit or 64-bit versions of the operating systems; and it supports a variety of virtualization environments. It is designed to address some of the obstacles that go along with migrating to a new OS, such as compatibility with older versions of software or differences in hardware, says Aaron Suzuki, CEO of Prowess.
Forrester Research said in a November 2010 outlook on Windows 7 adoption that while only 10 percent of PCs in North America and Europe run the newest version of the OS, there are promising signs of a pickup. For one, 31 percent of new PCs being installed by IT managers run Windows 7. Forrester anticipates that within a year that number will grow to 83 percent.
While Suzuki concurs that hardware refresh cycles will be a big driver of Windows 7 adoption, he still thinks that "wide-scale deployment of Windows 7 is a lot further out than a lot of people think. Our customers do not seem to be in any hurry."
Suzuki says one of the factors limiting migration is that some independent software vendors (ISVs) are slow to update their applications to be compatible with Windows 7 or to make their images "Windows 7-ready" to be included in a migration project. While sensing this market reluctance, Prowess is doing its part to encourage adoption by pointing out features of its SmartDeploy Migration, such as single instance storage.