With Windows 8 finalised and now available for enterprise customers to download, IT departments around the globe will begin the task of evaluating Microsoft's next-generation platform to gauge whether the features and capabilities make it worth planning for a migration in the near future, or to postpone such a move almost indefinitely.
It's a huge overhaul from Microsoft, representing the biggest change to the platform in its entire history, and comes with a raft of impressive new features that could well appeal to businesses. However, there's no guarantee Microsoft will succeed, despite its dominance in the enterprise market, as it faces a tough market and the extent of the overhaul may cause problems for many long-time users.
With this in mind, we've come up with the top five reasons why Windows 8 might prove a success in the enterprise, plus five more why it could be kicked into the long grass by organisations.
No doubt readers will have their own opinions on the matter, in which case feel free to add a comment at the bottom of the page.
Top 5 reasons Windows 8 could prove a hit
5. Improved touch experience for tablet users
Windows 8 delivers a substantial improvement in support for gestures and touch input compared with earlier versions of Windows, making this arguably the first version of Microsoft's platform that is truly well suited for slate-mode tablet devices.
Those who have tried out the pre-release versions of Windows 8 on a compatible tablet have found the system to be very responsive to gesture input, while Microsoft has also retained the ability to support a digital stylus, a vital input method for many vertical applications, also allowing for handwriting capture and note taking.
The changes also extend to a much improved on-screen soft keyboard, a much-needed capability if users are expected to make greater use of slate-mode tablets without a physical keyboard available.
4. Storage spaces
There are many new capabilities coming in Windows 8 that could be useful, but the Storage Spaces feature stands out for its ability to allow users to pool disks into virtualised storage containers, akin to the way a Raid array works.
Storage Spaces allows for much greater flexibility in the way storage can be used, allowing users to simply expand the pool by adding another disk if the pool is getting close to being filled.
Greater resilience to errors is also catered for by optional mirroring support, under which the operating system ensures that any data is duplicated across two or more physical disks, so data is not lost if a single disk fails.
Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.