Long before the official launch this month, Microsoft has been touting the substantial benefits that businesses will achieve with Windows Vista. For ATM deployers however, the transition from IBMâs OS/2 system is still a recent and in some cases ongoing challenge, forcing them to question the benefits of yet another systems overhaul. The original move to Windows NT/XP was the catalyst for creating an open standards ATM environment, offering banks greater possibilities to separate the proprietary relationship between ATM hardware and software and pursue a multi-vendor policy. The migration to Windows has been complex and many are still experiencing availability issues, often as a result of software quality problems. Whilst there will inevitably be pressure to migrate, ATM deployers need to carefully weigh up the risks and benefits of being an early adopter of Vista. What should banks consider before migrating?
Martin Macmillan, Business Development Director at Level Four, a leading supplier of open standards-based ATM software (www.levelfour.com), discusses the caution that ATM deployers must exercise in their approach to Microsoftâs latest operating system:
âIt cannot be ignored that a transition from the Windows XP operating system to Windows Vista is a natural evolution that ATM deployers will eventually implement. Indeed, Vista offers the promise of greater security and stability and will provide banks with the opportunity to further enhance customer service delivery at the ATM. However, banks must exercise caution in their approach to Vista at such an early stage in the operating systemâs lifecycle.
âDue to the inherent need to continually update Windows and with a higher amount of applications now resident on the ATM itself, deploying a Windows-based ATM network already entails a step-change in complexity when compared with an OS/2-based system. Automated testing solutions that exhaustively check the ATM software must be used to address potential faults before any changes to the application or to the operating system (for example security updates) are deployed. Banks have already undertaken rigorous testing on their current Windows platform, now predominantly XP, to improve its stability to control ATMs. While Vista is still in its infancy, it lacks the maturity and improved reliability that XP now offers for the control of a mission-critical banking device.
âATM deployers are justifiably reluctant to upgrade at a time when XP has sufficient functionality and Vista offers uncertain advantages. They will benefit from resisting the urge to migrate and allow early adopters to test Vista and see it proven in the self-service field. For mission-critical banking devices such as ATMs, banks should adopt a wait and see policy before considering a migration project of this magnitude.â