Windows 7 RC has been released to the public recently (in the past 1 or 2 months). Microsoft Springboard contains a huge amount of resources for IT Pros who wants to find out more about Windows 7. There has also been tremendous uptake in the testing of Windows 7. There are many outstanding and impressive press writings and blogs by enthusiasts. You can search around for those writing over common search engines and you’ll come up with tons of them.
I manage the IT Pro Community in Singapore and fuel their passion. As you can probably imagine, I’m overwhelmed by IT Pros in Singapore to learn more about Windows 7. So much so that I think I’m doing injustice to the product by not talking enough. 😉
Tan Chee, is an old friend of mine. Coincidentally, he is also an active contributing leader of Singapore Windows IT Pro User Group. He works as an IT Consultant in one of the largest system integrator in Singapore. He manages the an education body’s systems infrastructure that comprises of servers and more than 10,000 clients.
Tasked with Upgrading Client OS
He has recently been assigned to look into the upgrading of Windows XP to the next version of the Operating System. The upgrade has to take into consideration both hardware and software compatibility. He is familiar with Windows Vista, while the software compatibility is acceptable, the hardware deals a big blow. Vista is hardware resource demanding.
Knowing that Windows 7 is due to release soon, Tan Chee looks into testing Windows 7. Having ran Windows 7 Beta since Jan 2009, Tan is impressed with how polished the codes were in Beta stage. He loved the new OS and found that it resolved most of the software and hardware issues with all the new features.
Through real-time testing and observations, Windows 7 performs better than Windows XP in all lab tests.
Crux of a Client OS Upgrade
In the current economic climate, Tan Chee highlighted the challenge he faces. He points out 2 main considerations; Software and Hardware issues.
Software issues has always been a plaguing legacy in any organization. It is important that existing Line of Business applications will work and run on new platforms. Tan Chee also drives a constant message back into his organization that software must progress with the change of state in the business.
Hardware costs is another huge issue. In such economic times, we’re constantly driving to keep costs down. As such, there is a constant pressure to extend the operating life of the client machines. Switching to Windows Vista proved to be a costly exercise should he go down this path.
Tan Chee is amazed that Windows 7 breathed new life into the existing sets of hardware. In performance tests, using current hardware, Windows 7 runs faster than Windows XP. This allowed him to extend the life of serviceable machines and saved him money.
Real “Minimum” Hardware Requirement
Tan Chee set out on a mission. To discover what is the oldest supported set of hardware he could use with Windows 7. He scrambled around office and got 2 “minimalist” hardwares. A mini PC running on VIA CPU and on an Intel Pentium 4 1.6GHz CPU with 512MB of ram.
In both installations, Windows 7 performed smoothly. As smooth as XP, if not better. That’s really giving an old machine a new soul.
Using Windows 7 as a production machine
Given those lab tests, Tan Chee believes his organization is ready for Windows 7. To take it to the next level, he and several colleagues decided to use it as their production day to day work. Using RC bits, Windows 7 is READY for this environment. For his daily administration work, almost every tool and utility works well. He’s been more productive on the same set of hardware.
Tan Chee, together with a few others, are sharing a list of applications that they come across with and works with Windows 7 in their day to day work. Check out the list here. You are welcomed to contribute to the list here.
Further mitigate software compatibility with XP Mode
Given the high levels of software compatibilities, Tan Chee feels that there may still be situations that could hinder the move to Windows 7. He identified a new feature that will remove this blocker. Windows 7 RC, comes with a desktop virtualization capability – Windows XP Mode.
To find out more about Windows XP Mode, click here.
There are also many conversations about driving GreenIT. Tan Chee wants to do his bit too. He came across a blog post by the Windows 7 engineering team about Windows 7 Energy Efficiency. Always being curious about labs and testing, he mounted on a simple power consumption test.
Using an old set of machine, Tan Chee runs Windows XP and have its power consumption measured over a 1 hour period, recording power consumption every 10 minutes.
With the same set of hardware, he runs Windows 7. With no configuration change at all, power savings kicks in after 30 mins. The results, approx. 40% drop in power consumption after 30 mins. Calculating power savings is tough, but he concluded that based on that simple test, power consumption for his 10,000 clients could potentially have a drop of 20-40% in power bill each month.
This can be quite significant savings for an organization with 10,000 machines. Windows 7’s energy consumption can be easily managed through group policies in Active Directory.
Tan Chee is another happy IT Pro who participate in IT Pro Momentum. If you want to have that cutting edge, IT Pro Momentum makes that difference. To find out how to participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and include which country you are from. For Tan Chee, he can’t wait for Windows 7 to be released.