It's no secret that the hardware upgrade process is a lot more complicated in the age of Windows Vista. But more and more enterprise managers are finding out just how many variables need to be considered as the time to swap out aging desktop and network gear draws nigh.
Fortunately for some, the decision is being made easier by what could only be called heavy-handed tactics that some providers use to keep customers in line, but which actually breed resentment and a stronger desire to switch platforms.
Take the example of this Tacoma, Wash., firm, which was already growing tired of ever-increasing licensing and hardware costs with its Windows-based PCs and SQL Server platform, even before Microsoft started hassling it about possible license violations. Macs are looking better and better, despite a fair amount of recoding needed to keep proprietary front-end apps working properly.
It seems like a lot of firms are taking a hard look at Vista's costs and functionality, judging by the latest quarterly sales figures. While Windows-based PCs still garner the vast majority of sales, Apple showed the largest increase compared to the first quarter a year ago. A 30 percent increase has brought it a solid 5 percent of the U.S. market.
Loyalty to legacy systems is also taking a hit from the fact that virtualization allows you to run any OS, and by extension any application, that you've become dependent on. As this article at PCWorld points out, Mac users have a variety of options when it comes to running Windows, not merely the much-maligned Virtual PC of a few years ago. From Parallels and Boot Camp to VMware Fusion and CodeWeaver, there's a means to just about any end that enterprise users demand.
Of course, if you're hell-bent on running Vista on the Mac, there is that little problem of licensing. While Microsoft has loosened up a bit on its requirements for running Vista in virtual environments, you still can't put the basic or even the premium version on your Mac. For that you need the more expensive business or ultimate version. Microsoft says this is for security reasons, although both AMD and Intel stop just short of calling that so much nonsense.
Ultimately, as virtualization further separates traditional hardware and software co-dependence, hardware decisions will cease to be about which applications you expect to use and more about capabilities, engineering and support.