Windows 7 Getting Rigorous Enterprise Testing - InformationWeek

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Software // Operating Systems
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Windows 7 Getting Rigorous Enterprise Testing

Early adopters like Intel already are hammering away at the new Microsoft operating system, testing it for its strengths and weaknesses.

Windows 7 screen shot
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Windows 7 screen shot

Windows 7 won't be released until later this year, and most companies plan to wait awhile before deploying it, but that doesn't mean that early adopters and early testers aren't already hammering away at the new Microsoft operating system, testing it for its strengths and weaknesses.

BAA, which owns and manages airports in the United Kingdom and increasingly globally, is in the early phases of test deployment with 20 pilot users of Windows 7, and plans to begin a wider test with business users at the end of July. As of now, it plans to begin rolling out Windows 7 in its production environment relatively soon after its release as part of a hardware upgrade cycle.

BAA upgraded late to Windows XP -- in 2004 and 2005 -- and thus hasn't moved to Vista. Currently, it runs a locked-down version of Windows XP that relies on application virtualization via Citrix to deliver more than 200 of its business applications. However, employees have complained that they don't have enough flexibility and control in that environment, and, according to Tim Matthew, head of BAA's IT architecture, "the perception is that we are constraining them from operating efficiently."

As BAA is still early in its testing of Windows 7, the company still has some evaluating to do before it can really weigh in on possible business benefits of the forthcoming OS. However, Matthew is particularly interested in Direct Access, which will allow employees to connect to corporate networks without the need for a VPN, but which also requires Windows Server 2008 R2. He's also interested in using Microsoft Application Virtualization, which is available for an added fee to Software Assurance licensees as part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Program.

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