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Softchoice: Windows 10 adoption elusive among customers

With Windows 10 having celebrated in July its first year on the market, service provider Softchoice has found a scant presence of the OS within its client base.

Softchoice’s recent study of its clients’ IT environments, which looked at more than 400,000 Windows-based devices at 169 North American organizations, revealed only 0.75% of the devices run on Windows 10. The study was the latest of several analyses the company has conducted using data drawn from its client base — the bulk of which is enterprise sized with 500-plus seats. Many of the company’s clients are recurring, allowing the company to obtain insight into clients’ changing environments over time, noted David Brisbois, senior manager of assessment and technology deployment services consulting at Softchoice, based in Toronto.

Brisbois wasn’t surprised by Windows 10’s low adoption rate. “The newest OSes are never widely adopted in the commercial space,” he said. “In most cases, there were a fair number of organizations that had a Windows 10 device or a couple Windows 10 devices, but it was less than a percentage. So it wasn’t really material to the study.”

While he cited upgraded security as one of the major reasons to move to Windows 10, he said the OS’s focus on touch-enabled interfaces hasn’t lured many customers. “I think a lot of the perception today around Windows 10 is that it’s geared toward touch interfaces. It doesn’t take long to walk around any of our clients’ sites to notice a lot of them still have monitors and laptops that are not touch enabled. So the whole idea of Windows 8 or Windows 10, which are both very small deployment numbers, isn’t very overly appealing, because [customers are] not looking at it from a security perspective.”

Another factor Brisbois attributed the lagging Windows 10 adoption is the use of web-based applications. “The OS isn’t as important in [software as a service] scenarios because you get the same functionality.”

Windows 7, meanwhile, dominated Softchoice’s client environments, with 91% of scanned devices running on the operating system, an increase from 18% in 2015.

Most organizations have standardized on Windows 7, Brisbois said, partly due to the phasing out of Windows XP. The study found Windows XP has “pretty much disappeared,” with only 5% of devices on the unsupported OS, down from 20% last year. Computers today that run Windows XP tend to be legacy terminals used for specific functions where “there’s just no need to break what’s working,” he said. Larger clients with over 5,000 seats tended to have the most Windows XP operating systems in use, while organizations between 1,000 and 5,000 seats had less. The smaller, more agile organizations were “the ones that got rid of Windows XP the fastest and [adopted] Windows 7 the quickest.”

The results of the study didn’t impact Softchoice’s current direction as a company, Brisbois said. “Personally, I don’t think there’s this huge need to get people onto [the Windows 10] OS. … I’d say our biggest opportunity that we focus on as an organization is definitely on cloud adoption, Office 365 [and] Azure. That’s where we put our effort,” he explained. “Azure’s been a great opportunity for us, and we’re going to continue to zero in on the Azure piece.”

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I don't think this was one of Brian's more insightful articles -- which is a rare occurence.

Rather than delivering on a no-budget desktop plan for 2011, it was a no-content article that never discussed that point.

It would have been a more powerful comment back in early December. Then anyone that upgraded from VMware Enterprise to Enterprise Plus could get 50 View Add-on clients "at no charge". Up to three times (three separate orders) by Dec 15th, 2010. That equated to 150 VDI licenses including 1 year maintenance for free worth about $28,000. And the upgrade cost of Ent to Ent Plus was also discounted so for about 40% more than you would pay to renew your VMware Enterprise licenses in 2011, you received Enterprise Plus (which is important for plug-ins, ease of management, and centralized networking, even if you are not going for the Cisco UCS networking offering).

Today, while not free, VMware View has offerings to get you started with vCenter Foundation server and tools.

Brian -- if you care to comment, as many SBS 2003 companies are moving to SBS 2008 (now that SBS 2011 is coming out), their ISA 2004 server has gone away and their VPN had to be removed during the migration prcess -- should they consider virtual desktop, remote desktop or third party VPN or VDI soltuion to bridge the gap for outside users used to VPN'ing and accessing folders, etc.

Doing that on a low budget would be a miracle.
One free option is the KVM hypervisor that is included in the Linux kernel... and the SPICE remote display protocol that Red Hat released as open source last spring.

Right now you are sort of limited to using the Fedora 14 Linux distribution as a hosting platform because integration of SPICE has not yet made its way into the standard libvirtd library that is used by most GUI KVM management tools. That should change within a few months though with the release of Fedora 15 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1... and later any RHEL clones... like CentOS and Scientific Linux.

Of course I'd only recommend rolling your own for smaller deployments unless you really want to design and deploy your own SAN. That will probably change with in a Linux kernel release or two when DRBD also becomes a standard kernel feature... and even more so in a year or two when BTRFS becomes production quality and also a standard Linux filesystem.

For small businesses or home offices, go for it NOW... as long as you are already familiar with Linux or aren't afraid to learn.

If you want a commercial product based on KVM and SPICE now, Virtual Bridges VERDE 5 is due out real soon now. The use the standard open source components and augment them with some proprietary glue for the management and clustering features in a value added product.