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Longhorn announcements barely a blip on IT radar

IT professionals aren't paying a great deal of attention to the latest road map for the next version of Windows. But for those taking a long-term view, a Gartner analyst has a bit of Longhorn advice.

While developers are naturally curious over tweaks to the Longhorn road map, many IT administrators barely take notice.

Enterprise IT customers typically lag at least a year or two behind the release of any major operating system and are finding the changes to the next release of Windows to be too far out to be cause for concern.

"It's not even on my radar," said Paul Theisen, IT director for The Tech Group Inc., a Scottsdale, Ariz .-based consumer products manufacturing company. "There are too many [other] business issues that enterprises have to deal with."

… companies may want to skip the first release of Longhorn and wait for the version with WinFS.

Michael Silver,

Gartner analyst,
And Theisen isn't alone. "We just put in 1,800 XP desktops and hopefully we're good for about four years," said Vito Palmeri , a project manager at the regional municipality of York, Ontario.

Microsoft said last week that it would omit the Windows File System (WinFS) from the first release of the next version of Windows client and server software, code-named Longhorn. Longhorn isn't due out until late 2006.

The company said the initial release will include the communications subsystem, code-named Indigo, and the presentation subsystem, code-named Avalon. WinFS will be available for beta testing when Longhorn becomes available, Microsoft said last week.

Customer strategy recommended

Michael Silver, a vice president and research director at Gartner Inc., a Stamford, Conn., consulting firm, said the news will likely make XP more attractive to customers for longer, which is bad for Microsoft.

Silver said he recommends that customers adopt XP SP2, at least on new PCs, now. By the time the first release of Longhorn is available, customers will have a better idea of when WinFS will ship, how it will be made available and how much work it will

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take to install it, Silver said.

"Depending on timing and delivery mechanics, companies may want to skip the first release of Longhorn and wait for the version with WinFS," Silver said.

"Remember, even once Longhorn is available, it will take 18 months for the typical company to prepare a rollout," he added. "Companies that stay on Win2000 and try to skip XP will likely have to jump on the first Longhorn release. Companies that are on XP will have the luxury of time to see how things work out and make decisions later -- with better information."

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