Users won't be booting up Vista PCs any time soon, according to a recent survey, which revealed a majority of IT professionals are worried that migrating to Vista will reduce stability and introduce too much complexity into their environments.

Ninety per cent of some 961 IT professionals surveyed said they had concerns about migrating to Microsoft's Vista operating system and more than half reported they had no plans to deploy Vista at this time.

"The concerns about Vista specified by participants were overwhelmingly related to stability. Stability in general was frequently cited, as well as compatibility with the business software that would need to run on Vista," said Diane Hagglund of King Research. "Cost was also cited as a concern by some respondents."

The survey, conducted by King Research and commissioned by systems management vendor Kace, asked 961 IT professionals this month about the perceived impact of Vista on IT organisations - particularly on operating system adoption plans. The results show most IT professionals are worried about Vista and that 44 per cent of respondents have considered non-Windows operating systems, such as Linux and Macintosh, to avoid the Microsoft migration.

"Clearly many companies are serious about this alternative, with nine per cent of those saying they have considered non-Windows operating systems already in the process of switching and a further 25 per cent expecting to switch within the next year," the report Windows Vista Adoption and Alternatives reads.

In terms of alternatives, Apple's Mac OS X leads the pack, with support from 28 per cent of survey respondents. About 25 per cent said they would opt for Red Hat Linux, with SUSE Linux and Ubuntu each garnering 18 per cent of the vote. Another nine per cent cited other Linux operating systems and four per cent were unsure.

IT professionals also said that virtualisation was one of the key enabling technologies making a move off of Microsoft possible. About two-thirds reported that the use of virtualised environments had made it easier to implement an alternative operating system.

Yet heterogeneous systems management could be a barrier to going with an operating system provider other than Microsoft, the survey found. Among the challenges survey respondents reported were the need to manage multiple operating systems (49 per cent) and the need to learn a different set of management tools (50 per cent). Some 60 per cent of IT professionals surveyed manage their Windows systems with tools that don't support non-Windows environments.

"Almost half of all participants (45 per cent) cited challenges with system management in non-Windows operating systems as preventing them from adopting alternatives," the report states.