For some reason this post never got published and was sitting in my 'drafts' folder in Live Writer. Oh well, it's still more than a current topic of conversation. Hope this helps...
This article has just been brought to my attention - Businesses warned not to skip Vista - News - CIO UK – Business Technology Leadership. It's interesting that the analysts are now talking up the fact that companies should deploy Vista. I read this blog article that discusses Vista deployment and the fact that Gartner's view is that companies should deploy Vista as they replace machines. I'm not too sure I completely agree with that as I think the business case for Vista deployment is pretty strong from a direct and indirect cost perspective.
I do like the advice in the CIO.com article that encourages deployment onto fairly current hardware. In my personal opinion this is a must and deployment to hardware 'designed' for Windows XP is a major cause of usability issues people have with Vista. If you are going to deploy to hardware deigned to XP - then why not use group policy to disable improvements to the UI, desktop search etc. that require increased processing muscle. You still get the deployment, management and security benefits from Vista and when you deploy to 'Vista Ready' hardware you can turn these features on.
Of course, having a good management infrastructure in place is vital and that's where System Center comes in!