IT Pro Momentum Program Results – Shoemake Consulting LLC


Your name:  Allen Shoemake

Company name:  Shoemake Consulting LLC

Your geographic location (country):  United States

Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed? (Yes or No) :  Yes

Objectives of the project:  What problem did you set out to solve?  :  To gather information and expertise for deployment of Windows 7 to both internal and customer environments.  These environments involve many high-end and legacy PC-based hardware/software systems.  Major objectives included assessment of compatibility and stability of several engineering and EDA-related applications.

Are you piloting or deploying the products?  I realize you are likely piloting first, but just let me know if you plan to move forward into a production deployment. :  Piloting

Products used in the project (all that apply):  Windows 7

Project description:  (As stated in the IT Momentum Pro project web description) - Evaluate performance and compatibility of several EDA (Electronic Design Automation) applications in a production environment on Windows 7 RC.  These applications are used internally, as well as by clients and colleagues.  It is anticipated that some legacy applications may require operation in Windows XP mode.  The impetus for this project stems from the poor compatibility that Windows Vista initially provided for these applications. Consequently, many users decided to postpone adoption of Vista technology and in most cases downgraded new workstations to Windows XP.  I believe Vista SP1 and SP2 addressed many of the incompatibility issues, however in a majority of cases it was decided to postpone an OS upgrade to post-Vista.  Assuming Windows 7 and Windows XP Mode give positive results, I hope to provide my clients with guidance necessary to modernize their hardware and software platforms.

Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied?  Did you solve the problem? :   The problem as we saw it could mostly be described as “ Vista-Stigma” – Now I think we can call it “problem solved”.  Although a lot of problems with Vista had been solved with SP1 and SP2, it is good to see a product come out of the gate with a new life, good performance, and what appears to be rock-solid reliability.  Go away, Vista.

FYI - During the project five existing PC’s were configured as dual boot with XP and Windows 7.  Systems ranged from stock P4-3.2 GHz to over-clocked Quad-Core’s with 2 to 4 GB RAM, and mid to high end graphics.  There were virtually no installation and driver issues.  A few odd system peripherals and printers required driver updates via Windows Update.  Oddly, one machine with an AC97 sound would not auto-detect the driver and we manually installed a Vista version from Realtec.  We have been extremely impressed with performance and stability, even under extreme memory loading.  [Oh, and did I mention NO crashes during normal operation] .    Two legacy applications did present some compatibility issues, however they functioned in XP Mode (nice feature).  Power Management (Saving) modes also performed well.  This is starting to get a lot of attention, with rising energy costs.  The one sad item to report was an issue with icons in the system notification area.  All machines exhibited behavior inconsistent with show/no-show settings (just like XP).

Another interesting observation involves the fact that the test machines were configured as dual boot with XP and Windows 7.  This was done so that the user could revert back to XP if problems with Windows 7 were encountered.  I haven’t heard of any subject PC’s being booted on XP since the test began.

Based on our experience - I fully expect we and our customers to fully embrace Windows 7 both through upgrades and new PC purchases.

Are you going to save money?  How much over how many years? :  The money angle from our standpoint is hard to predict.  I suspect Windows 7 will save money primarily through the reduction of other Windows versions and the associated administrative costs. 

What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program?  Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program? Any suggestions for improvements are appreciated.  We tried to make this as easy as possible on everyone.  :  Program is great.  I think it’s off to a good start, and once Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 are released, it will probably crank up even more.  We would have still done the project without the IT Pro Momentum program, but I think it gave an extra bit of urgency knowing Microsoft was interested in the results.  Good job guys.

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