Up until the past month or two I have been able to say I hadn't seen Windows Vista deployed in an enterprise, and my peers had similar stories. But that seems to be quickly changing. My first sighting of Vista in the enterprise was an unmanaged desktop for a financial services storefront agent. Shortly after that I saw it on a laptop, but I was performing a hardware warranty break fix on it, and the end user was in IT in a data center, so I don't know if his install was managed or if he installed it himself.

Then about a month ago I performed a laptop refresh for an industrial company where the new laptop was a Configuration Manager (SMS)-managed Vista Business operating system. This was actually problematic, but the issues were due to client network latency between the laptop and the software distribution point, not to Vista itself .

Today I saw Server 2008 in production at a big box retailer while testing a newly installed KVM, and I made an appointment for this week to refresh a laptop user at at IT services firm to a new managed laptop running Windows 7 64-bit. I'm speaking about real, managed deployments here, not a lab machine or a rogue user installing his own software. Color me impressed.

I don't think this is simply coincidental to the upswing in adopting Windows Deployment Services that I've seen over the past two years. Before two years ago, all client images I dealt with were Ghost, Altiris or various Linux-based imaging software, but then I noticed more and more clients using WDS for their newer hardware deployments. Now I have several clients using DVD, PXE and flash boot to image their systems with WDS. And once you have that infrastructure in place, imaging Vista or Windows 7 is as easy as Windows XP. And now apparently patch and application management for Vista, Win7 and Server 2008 is deployed more widely in the enterprise. Welcome to the present!