Avnet Embedded, a business group of Avnet Electronics Marketing EMEA, a business region of Avnet, has announced the publication of a new opinion paper warning that the only viable option for businesses is to rapidly migrate off Windows XP, in the wake of Microsoft’s plan to withdraw support for XP in April 2014 – and giving businesses clear options as to what to do next.
According to the paper, which is entitled Is Migration the Only Salvation?, Microsoft’s withdrawal of support for XP will, in the opinion of many experts and commentators, expose XP businesses to unacceptable security and operational risks – meaning that migration to a different operating system is unavoidable and imperative. The paper’s author, Avnet Embedded Software Director Nick Donaldson, makes a number of critical points on this subject, including:
- There is no seamless migration path to Windows 7 and 8 – Windows 7 and 8 are not designed to be logical migration options for XP users. In fact, many devices that work on XP will not work on Windows 7 and 8 – and even if they do, it is likely that they will not be PCI-compliant.
- Open Source is deceptively expensive – Open Source operating systems can be a valid migration choice for some businesses, but despite their supposedly “free” credentials they can generate huge costs in terms of reskilling, support contract commitments, and the spiralling salaries of engineers specialised in these systems. Their lack of stability and reliability, and their slow development cycles, are also a matter of public record, Donaldson asserts.
- Embedded software can be much cheaper and more effective – An embedded option like WES2009 uses the same kernel as Windows XP and delivers the same features – but far more cheaply, and with far longer support availability, than classic XP licences.
- There is no panacea – Embedded has its issues, too. Users need to understand that migrating to some embedded operating systems, like WES7 or WE8S, is a bigger ask than migrating to WES 2009, as it requires a new operating system install.
Donaldson comments: “Businesses using and building XP devices need to understand that migration is genuinely the only salvation now. Paying through the nose for extended support will cost businesses many times what migration will. But businesses also need help understanding what their migration options are, and the industry has fallen down badly in its failure to communicate this, sticking too readily to Windows 7 and 8 hype.
In this paper, I hope to redress the balance in favour of the businesses concerned, and give them some real guidance rather than just recycling industry propaganda.”