Cisco is warning customers of its unified communications products that support for Windows 7 won’t be forthcoming until the product’s 8.0 release scheduled for the first quarter of 2010. About a dozen more UC products will not support Windows 7 until version 8.5, in the third quarter of 2010 and at that time, only the 32-bit version of Windows 7 will be supported.

Only three Cisco UC products among a list of about 50 published by Cisco Subnet blogger Brad Reese specifically promised 64-bit support, and this only through the use of a 32-bit emulator. These products are the Cisco UC Integration for Microsoft Office Communicator, Cisco IP Communicator and Cisco Unified Personal Communicator. The Communicator products are the client-side multimedia applications used with Cisco Unified Communications.

One CCIE, who asked not to be identified, is frustrated with the delay. He tells us that Cisco became a Windows supplier when it developed desktop UC applications such as the Unified Attendant Console, one of the applications that is not yet slated to support 64-bit Windows 7. The spotty roadmap for 64-bit support makes it difficult to see Cisco's UC as a good fit for companies wanting to upgrade to Windows 7, he says.

One reader posted a comment on Reese’s blog that said it is possible to run UC products on Windows 7 right now. However another expressed frustration. This anonymous reader wrote, “I realize many of the Cisco UC products will probably work on Win 7 32-bit. I'm concerned about the Cisco UC applications working on Win 7 64-bit. Microsoft's 64-bit OS has been available since Win XP although 64-bit processors have only been available for the masses for a few years. However, most desktop and notebook computers purchased in the last 2-3 years included 64-bit processors. Cisco is now a desktop software application vendor. They provide many applications for the standard desktop computer. They have a responsibility to support the most current corporate desktop OS!”

Microsoft released Windows 7 to manufacturing on 22 July. At that point developers of Windows applications had access to the final code.

According to Microsoft’s Windows 7 Compatibility Center, four Cisco desktop Windows applications have been certified as compatible with Windows 7. These are the Cisco VPN client version 5, the Cisco EAP-FAST Module, the Cisco LEAP Module, the Cisco PEAP Module. These modules are methods to securely transmit authentication credentials and are used with a VPN.

Cisco Subnet blogger Jamey Heary asserts that Cisco is the first major VPN vendor to support Windows 7 (as well as Mac OSX 10.6 clients). Cisco’s VPN support for Windows 7 covers both its IPSEC client and SSLVPN client software. The Cisco Anyconnect 2.4 SSLVPN client actually does support both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7. The Cisco VPN client 5.0.6 supports only the 32-bit version, according to Microsoft's compatibility information.