As the buzz surrounding the next version of Windows begins to swell prior to release, a full-scale release candidate is being tested by thousands of users around the world. Windows Vista build 5536, or Release Candidate 1 (RC1)
is now available to Microsoft testing partners. The initial reviews seem to be favorable for the most part.
- Confidence in Windows Vista RC1 schedule
- Pricing set for Vista
- Questions remain about IP network compatibility
With a more stable release of Vista making the rounds, the inevitable discussion regarding the actual ship date of Vista is quieting. The pressure is still on for Microsoft to work out all of the bugs still being found in RC1 as quickly as possible. Microsoft has announced a delivery date of November of this year for Windows Vista for business customers through its volume licensing program. The retail release is actually set for January of 2007. For a version to be available by the end of November, it would be logical to expect the final code to be released to manufacturing facilities at least a few weeks before shipping. That doesn't leave much time for Microsoft to make significant changes to the new operating system.
Since most small businesses don't use Microsoft's Volume Licensing Agreement to purchase their operating system software, the January launch date is the one to follow. Waiting a couple of extra months to get Vista shouldn't negatively affect the small business community as it's considered wise to let the kinks get worked out of a new Microsoft release before upgrading.
Pricing for Windows Vista has now been published by Microsoft. The version of Vista most likely to be used in small businesses is, naturally, Vista Business. Its pricing is set at $299 for a new version and $199 for the upgrade from Windows XP. The other version which may find its way to some small business will be Vista Ultimate (due to its advanced networking and group policy capabilities) whose new version will be available for $399 while the upgrade from XP is priced at $259.
Small business computing users should remain aware that Vista has significant hardware needs. It may make the most sense to order Vista when purchasing new hardware rather than trying to upgrade existing systems to the new operating system.
On a more technical note, Vista incorporates compatibility with the more advanced IP addressing system IPv6. However, it still will be using the current version, IPv4, for the vast majority of internet requests. Each time a computer needs to access a site on the internet, a request is made to domain name servers (DNS). There are some pundits speculating that with Vista users making two requests of the DNS, since it will try on IPv4 and IPv6, that there will be a system-wide performance hit. Many experts don't believe that this will actually be a noticeable slow-down, if it even occurs at all. A point that needs to be made centers around the fact that at some point in time, IPv6 needs to be the primary standard. It's hard to imagine that taking place without Microsoft Windows being a part of the transition. Besides, not everyone is going to make the upgrade to Vista at the same time (even if that is Microsoft's grand dream).