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Vista Deployment in the Trenches

If you really want to know what to expect when you’re thinking about deploying Windows Vista, you have to talk to the people who are responsible for making a real-life deployment happen. That’s why I asked Penton Media’s IT team to talk to me when we all met up at TechEd. I interviewed Chris Ripkey, Brent Mammon, and Lucas Smith to find out how the Vista rollout was coming along. (I previously talked to their boss, Penton’s CTO, Cindi Reding to get the strategic overview. See Vista Now or Later for details.)

I have a dual interest in this migration to Vista and Office 2007: I’m writing about it to give readers the benefit of the lessons that Chris, Brent, and Lucas are learning along the way, plus I’m one of their end users who is eager to migrate from my old Dell Latitude D600 notebook, which is running Windows XP SP2, Microsoft Office 2000, and IBM Lotus Notes. (Have I mentioned how productivity-killing Lotus Notes is for my team and me?) You can watch a video of my interview with Chris, Brent, and Lucas below.

(Having trouble viewing the video? Click here.)

Let me know if you have specific questions you’d like Chris, Brent, and Lucas to answer as I continue to report on their progress.

One point that both Cindi and her IT team stressed is that end-user training will be crucial to the success of our company’s Vista migration. One resource that our IT team will use for training is our new Office and SharePoint Pro Web site (, which we opened for beta testing at TechEd. Because this Web site is still in beta, we encourage you to give us feedback about how we can make it more useful for you and your end users.

Vista and Windows Server 2008 Logos
How important are Microsoft’s logo programs to your software purchasing decisions? When I think about the “Works with Windows Vista,” “Certified for Windows Vista,” and “Windows Vista Capable” logos, I just want to roll my eyes because of the confusion caused by those measures of Vista compatibility and the lack of clarity about the hardware certifications. (If you’re unfamiliar with these designations, see the Web Exclusive article What are the Windows Vista software and hardware logos? February 2007, InstantDoc ID 95122.)

The reason I ask about software certification is because I talked last week with Steve Bell, a Microsoft senior product manager for the Windows Server 2008 (formerly code-named Longhorn) logo program, which is based on the Vista logo program. For Server 2008, there are two new software certifications: The first is “Works with Windows Server 2008,” which, according to Microsoft, “ensures that an application is in compliance with best practices for the most common Windows Server 2008 functions.” And the second certification is “Certified for Windows Server 2008,” which means that the software has undergone what Microsoft describes as “rigorous standards for stability, security, reliability, and overall performance.”

What’s new about the Server 2008 certification is that Microsoft is providing tools for both IT and ISVs to test applications for compatibility with the new server. You can find these tools at Steve told me that at TechEd, attendees who were uninterested in the new certifications and skeptical of their value in making purchasing decisions were converted within minutes of seeing a demo of the new tools.

To balance out the Microsoft spin, I also spoke with Phil Lieberman of Lieberman Software. Phil said that ISVs, such as his company could achieve a competitive advantage by taking the time to test applications and devoting the development resources to ensure that their applications are logo compliant. Phil said the fact that his products have earned the logo should signal to customers that his products are reliable and his company is serious about customer satisfaction.

Given your experience with previous logo programs, what do you think about this new program? Check out the tools and let me know whether you’ll use them and whether they’ll influence you when you consider software products. I’ll use your feedback to shape an article I’m writing for the August issue of Windows IT Pro magazine.

Vista Resources
Here are some new FAQs that I thought might be useful:
What are the new symbolic linking facilities in Windows Vista? Find the answer at

How do I create symbolic links in Vista? Find the answer at .

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