Windows 7 EOL is on the Horizon: Why Enterprises Should Consider Chromebooks, Cloud Automation and GCP

Written by Alexander Shapero on Jan 21, 2019

If you’ve been in the IT business for some time, you probably remember the scramble to migrate to Windows 7 in the run up to end-of-life (EOL) support for XP. It was the most urgent project for any enterprise IT department back then. Well, it’s that time again – Microsoft will end support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, and many organizations are once again scrambling to upgrade. And, despite the fact that Windows 10 has been available for more than two years, nearly 36 percent of desktops are still running Windows 7. What’s different about the Windows 7 EOL however, is that enterprises have many more choices for alternative desktop OS’s and devices than they did five years ago.

Windows 7 EOL – Migrate Chromebooks and Chrome OS?

As Microsoft sunsets support for Windows 7 and endpoint devices age, an increasing number of businesses are considering switching to less expensive and easier to manage Chromebooks. Chances are however, that many enterprises still rely on Windows-based applications and are concerned that they won’t be able to run those on Chromebooks. We’re here to dispel that myth. Deploying Windows-based virtual desktops and applications from Google Cloud Platform with a lightweight and intuitive IT infrastructure management solution like itopia Cloud Automation Stack (CAS) is an excellent way to do this. We’ll get back to that later.

Chromebooks and Chrome OS in the enterprise

While Windows PCs still dominate in businesses, Chromebook shipments are actually on the rise, and Google is serious about the getting those into the enterprise market. Chrome devices are also starting to gain momentum outside the education sector, particularly in financial services and retail. In fact, the Chromebook market is expected to exceed 17 million units by 2023, according to Global Market Insights.

So, how do Chromebooks and Chrome OS stack up in the enterprise today? For insight, we can look at a detailed total economic impact (TEI) analysis conducted by Forrester Research which was commissioned by Google last fall. The study is based on a survey Forrester conducted of 236 enterprise organizations, with the goal to determining how deploying Chromebooks + Chrome OS to knowledge workers benefits the overall business over a three-year period. Based on the collective responses, Forrester constructed a “composite” company with the following characteristics: $5 billion in annual revenue; 50,000 employees; 17,500 knowledge workers; and, 7,000 knowledge workers on Chrome devices. Key findings include:

  • 121 percent return on investment
  • Six-month payback on investment in hardware and software
  • $3.1 million in cost savings from improved productivity and less downtime
  • $16 million in overall benefits

We’ll dig into this analysis deeper in a follow up piece.

Adding more value through itopia CAS + Google Cloud

While the upcoming Windows 7 EOL is driving enterprises to consider investing in alternative, lower cost devices like Chromebooks, they are also looking for other ways to cut costs and improve performance in their entire end user computing ecosystem. Many that have already deployed legacy virtual desktop solutions like Citrix or VMware find that the technology is too complex and expensive. Enter itopia CAS + Google Cloud. Purpose-built for Google Cloud, itopia CAS takes a more modern and lightweight approach to cloud desktops. Through a single interface, IT pros can quickly and easily deploy and manage the entire lifecycle of a cloud desktop environment without ever having to get under the hood in Google Cloud. CAS features like server uptime scheduling, autoscaling and snapshots also enable businesses to cut cloud costs significantly and ensure business continuity.

Why pick Google Cloud over the other hyperscale cloud providers? You can check out our breakdown of the Cloud Spectator Best Hyperscale Cloud Providers report here to learn how Google Cloud beats AWS and Azure hands-down on price, performance and overall value. Simply put, there are less expensive and high-performing options for enterprises available today, and the Windows 7 EOL is the perfect reason for forward-thinking CIOs to consider making more sensible and cost-effective choices they didn’t have before.