Windows 8 Virtually a Nonstarter in India

Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj, Journalist | 1/4/2013 | 24 comments

Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj
At a time when Microsoft is rethinking PCs and Windows, Indian enterprises seem to be very happy with Windows XP. With support for XP set to continue until April 2014, many organizations are not even contemplating migrating to Windows 7, much less the two-month-old Windows 8.

What makes Indian businesses technology laggards, even though Indian IT and services companies are world leaders in their fields? Decade-old enterprise application stacks that still rely on customized versions of software written for XP are the main culprit.

Though CIOs are excited about new trends and possibilities like touch capabilities, mobility, and BYOD, businesses are wary of migration for multiple reasons. Upgrading to a new OS calls for changes to end-user application interfaces. Legacy applications built on 16-bit architecture will not work on Windows 8. Organizations lack the capex for hardware upgrades and will resist changes that may affect task workers, such as bank employees who conduct transactions and shop floor workers who perform regular and repetitive tasks.

Yet change is inevitable. CIOs have long realized that applications written more than a decade ago (though perfectly capable of serving business requirements) may need a second look, due to security concerns and lack of support. For instance, an application built to run on Internet Explorer 6 or an older browser will not work as smoothly on newer browsers. They can continue to run on Windows XP up until Microsoft stops supporting that OS.

What is the solution? Experts here are suggesting desktop virtualization as a plausible way out of the issue of migration fatigue.

Desktop virtualization basically decouples the OS from the hardware and the applications from the OS. Linking the user to the OS instead, it creates a user profile that includes the type of OS and the applications that person uses. A virtual desktop is delivered to the user and may take the shape of a thin client, a laptop, a tablet, or even a thick client (an old desktop rendered into a dumb terminal). From the organization's viewpoint, the user can move seamlessly from one OS environment to another. And the organization can cut down on maintenance and other costs and avoid the pains of migration, including updates through service packs, patching for every machine, and dealing with application compatibility.

In India, desktop virtualization is already picking up pace, but migration to a new OS is not the driving factor. The real motivations are reducing desktop management costs, securing critical business data in datacenters, minimizing device breaches, and ensuring a homogeneous desktop experience for the office staff, mobile workforce, and remote teams. BYOD is also fueling the trend. According to the Citrix Bring Your Own Devices Index, CIOs are looking at desktop virtualization as the key technology to unlock the benefits of BYOD within the enterprise.

In 2013, Windows migration is expected to be another factor driving the trend toward desktop virtualization. Organizations here will probably move from XP to Windows 7, since the Windows 8 ecosystem is still developing. Some BYOD-friendly organizations may see value in the touch interface of Windows 8. However, those that stick with XP up to 2014 may skip Windows 7, opt out of Windows 8, and set their sights on Windows 9, rumors of which are already making the rounds.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
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Sudha N Bharadwaj   Windows 8 Virtually a Nonstarter in India   1/10/2013 11:26:58 PM
Re: are we just overreacting?

As I understand, if XP is doing wonders, it is okay to skip 7. It depends on the organization's requirements. I would vote for 8 only because it would bring in touch capabilities which the world will progress to sooner or later. However the rules for enterprises seem to be different due to factors like cost and time. But going by the offers made by Microsoft, it looks like there is no choice but to traverse through 7 to access 8 at offer price... 
Anand   Windows 8 Virtually a Nonstarter in India   1/10/2013 11:12:53 PM
Re: are we just overreacting?
As you say it is a long painful process, so better to wait it out and do it when the option is clear.

@Sudha, do you think its easy to migrate from Win-XP to Win-8 ? Or is it beneficial if the company first miagrates to win-7 first and then plans to migrate to Win-8 ?
Sudha N Bharadwaj   Windows 8 Virtually a Nonstarter in India   1/10/2013 10:47:58 PM
Re: are we just overreacting?
@Anand, At the end of the day it is abut what works for the organization. If XP is so perfect, why fall in line with the a proprietary pattern of updates? Also waiting for a little longer as there is a window, may -- just may provide a little more choice. As you say it is a long painful process, so better to wait it out and do it when the option is clear.
Anand   Windows 8 Virtually a Nonstarter in India   1/10/2013 9:55:43 PM
Re: are we just overreacting?
The next upgrade should be worth the effort after all and at this point, not all are convinced about either 7 or 8.

@Sudha, do you think its good idea to postpone the migration when they all know that evenutally they have to migrate to windows 7 or 8 ? Isn't it the right to start the migration process because it takes lot of effort and time ?

Anand   Windows 8 Virtually a Nonstarter in India   1/10/2013 9:49:03 PM
Re: are we just overreacting?
but my general feeling is that a CIO should strive to never be the first or the last on any OS.

@David, totally agree with your point. I think CIO should never postpone the decision to migrate to new OS. CIO should take the OS migration call based on the pro's and con's of the migration to new OS.
Anand   Windows 8 Virtually a Nonstarter in India   1/10/2013 9:41:33 PM
Re: Not an easy Task
In some cases, there may be applications that still use oldest libraries/sdk etc., whcih may not workk in newer OS.

@M.S good point. I think one more reason could be windows 8 requires high-end hardward and most of the enterprises are using old hardware. Thus to migrate to Windows-8 these enterprises have to upgrate their hardware as-well.

stotheco   Windows 8 Virtually a Nonstarter in India   1/8/2013 4:10:11 AM
Re: are we just overreacting?
CIOs have the responsibility to stay on top of their departments and decide when is the right time to implement new OS and technologies. That said, I agree: no one (especially CIOs) should hope to be the first or the last on any OS. It's the firm that will suffer in the end.
MS.Akkineni   Windows 8 Virtually a Nonstarter in India   1/7/2013 2:58:06 PM
Re: Not an easy Task
Thank You @Technocrat. I missed E2 while i was away. Feels very good to be back.

Yes, At this point companies should set Windows 7 as their benchmark OS for their applications. That should help them easy transition going forward.

MS.Akkineni   Windows 8 Virtually a Nonstarter in India   1/7/2013 2:53:05 PM
Re: are we just overreacting?
a CIO should strive to never be the first or the last on any OS.

Absolutely @Dave. I agree with you 100% on this.

David Wagner   Windows 8 Virtually a Nonstarter in India   1/7/2013 10:40:14 AM
Re: are we just overreacting?
@sudha- You're definitely right that they *think* they can wait. I worry about an enterprise that waits too long. Maybe I'm too cautious, but my general feeling is that a CIO should strive to never be the first or the last on any OS.
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