At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Proponents of the new OS admire the new look and feel, the new tightness of the GUI. They heap praise on the various user interface enhancements, the start menu, the taskbar, and the uber-hip backgrounds. The hardware works this time around, and users don't need speed machines to get Windows 7 running smoothly. This is all good and well, but let me ask you this: As the system administrator of a 1000+ user IT infrastructure, do you really give a flying flapjack about the new taskbar? How about the new ways you can preview files? What about the Aero Peek GUI?
Didn't think so.
This is my issue with you, Windows 7. You may be solving all the problems that plagued Vista, and that's great. We love you for it. But there's a reason we never left XP, and it's not because we hated Vista (we did). XP works. It may not be the prettiest OS on the block, it may not have the biggest and the bestest features, but it has been a steady, reliable, and faithful companion to IT professionals through the years. It has consistently been able to meet the IT needs of businesses everywhere, and it still does. Businesses don't need slick graphics, fancy toolbars, or upgraded Freecell (I'm particularly excited about that one, though). Businesses need control, reliability, and speed. All of which XP is still faithfully supplying to this very day.
Users may herald Windows 7 as the Seventh Coming, but its true judgement will be at the hands of sys admins at large corporations. Home users are only a fraction of Windows' market. if Microsoft will come out of this release truly redeemed, they are going to have to impress the IT Pros. And that won't be easy.
You see, XP was easy. When faced with the choices of Windows 98, NT4, 2000, or even ME, switching to XP was a no-brainer. The back-end networking and security features that are the basis of IT infrastructures today were implemented well for the first time in XP. The integration with Windows Server 2003 that we also depend heavily on for things like Active Directory, VPN, Exchange (Outlook), was also revamped and overhauled in XP. It also included the option of a software firewall. While it did have a rocky start, and every big OS is going to have a rocky start, it matured quickly to be the OS of choice for businesses around the globe. It basically forced Novell out of the market, and IE took over as the default Internet Browser for the world. Now that it's been a few years, and XP is only more entrenched in the market, it's going to take a whole lot more than fancy graphics and driver updates to uproot the stable foundation that XP built.
The strategy that Windows 7 is employing to target that demographic is to re-introduce the Vista enterprise features that nobody used because they were in Vista, and to show off some new enterprise features that aren't groundbreaking, but safe.
BitLocker- This was a security feature in Vista that encrypted entire partitions with AES encryption (that's a strong one). In a corporate environment, this would go a long way in securing data beyond the basic NTFS encryption methods and permissions. With Windows 7, this capability will be extended to removable media such as flash drives, enabling this protection for remote and travelling users.
DirectAccess - one of the biggest complaints we get from users is that they can't get on to the VPN. Unfortunately, there's very little we can do from our end because the problem is typically their Internet connection. They have to work with their ISP to get it working. Even if it does work, it can be slow when sharing VPN with regular Internet. DirectAccess is a server implemented alternative to VPN that uses a regular Internet connection (using IPsec IPv6 or, if unavailable, IPv6 tunneled through IPv4 and SSL) to access network intranet resources. The DirectAccess server runs on the edge of the network and acts as a gateway to remote users. It's an interesting idea. I don't know if the performance increase is worth the purchase of a new server, but i guess time will tell.
AppLocker - The bane of all System Administration is user installed software. They are typically the cause of all evil and Windows 7 hopes to better enable the IT pro to control the deadly sin. AppLocker is basically a whitelist of downloads and applications that a user is allowed to install and/or configure. This is much more secure than a blacklist of things they can't do, and more thorough as well.
There a few others, and they are all pretty cool, but I still fall back to my original argument. These things are improvements, sure, but they aren't revolutionizing the OS like XP did. Windows 7 adds some nice touches here and there to enterprise IT management. But is it really worth the cost of implementation when you already have a stable, powerful OS, that MS will officially support against 2014? To completely destroy a saying, if it ain't broke, don't upgrade. If IT managers don't need the "cool" parts of the new OS (they don't), then Windows 7 will a lot more innovating to do if it really wants to be resurrected and proclaimed savior of mankind (and it does really want that).