Legacy software and high upgrade costs have kept small and niche end users tethered to outdated Windows servers and operating systems, according to participants in a panel discussion on the subject this week in Quincy, Mass.
Solution providers participating in a CRN roundtable discussion at D&H Distributing's New England Technology Show. said they are still seeing a lot of Windows Server 2003 and on-premise infrastructure in their customer ecosystems, and don't anticipate seeing wide-scale adoption of Windows 10 until support is terminated for older operating systems.
"There's no way in hell you'll see Windows 10 [in machine shops or manufacturing plants]," said David Dion, chief technology officer at Brick Computer in Rowley, Mass. "We still deploy Windows 98 and XP in those facilities."
Machine shops typically operate on boxes and machines that are 2 decades old, Dion said, meaning they have to depend on legacy apps because more modern software isn't compatible with the antiquated devices.
Susan Trahant, general manager of Peabody, Mass.-based Land Computer, said end users aren't going to change course after spending thousands of dollars on proprietary software just because Microsoft released a new operating system.
Trahant said many of her customers were jaded by negative experiences with Windows 8 -- which she said they found to be impractical with business apps -- and therefore likely won't go over to Windows 10 until support for Windows 7 is terminated.
"My customers don't even want Windows 8," Trahant said.
Likewise, Lou Giovanetti, co-founder of Woburn, Mass.-based CPU Sales & Service, said many of his clients had legacy business apps that didn't even work on Windows 8, requiring those customers who buy Windows 8 licensing to downgrade to Windows 7.
Similar issues have prevented small businesses from wholeheartedly embracing cloud, Dion said, as many vertical-specific apps have little or no presence in the cloud.
Robert Lloyd, founder of Haddam, Conn.-based TechNet Computing, said a multitude of factors are keeping small businesses from the cloud, including on-premise line-of-business applications, physical locations that can't support more than a DSL connection and misguided customer fears related to security.