By Randy Littleson
Companies of all sizes have one eye on the clock ticking down to the end of Windows XP support. Numbers vary on the percentage of corporations and desktops that have been migrated to Windows 7 (we are not seeing many migrating to Windows 8), but all numbers point to a large number of companies that have yet to finish. It’s a pretty safe bet that the overwhelming majority of companies that are not finished are at some point in their project to get there.
No matter where you’re at in the planning or execution stages of your Windows 7 migration, you will clearly benefit from automation of the Application Readiness process. As the clock ticks down, you may think that an option is to outsource the management of application preparedness to a third party in an effort to get done by the deadline by “throwing bodies at the problem.” As is typically the case in such situations, you may succeed with this, but you’ve really just put a band aid over the core issue that will come back to bite you later. What you won’t be achieving by going this route is establishing/improving your overall Application Readiness processes, systems and tools critical to dealing with future changes (and keep in mind that industry data shows that 30% of applications change each year and need to go through this process). Future changes are likely to include moving to Microsoft System Center 2012 or standardizing on application virtualization delivery models.
Since the big Windows 7 migration projects began over 3 years ago, Application Readiness solutions to manage application migrations have emerged and matured substantially, evolving from tactical tools to integrated solutions that are highly functional for day-to-day packaging tasks but also highly scalable for mass application migration projects. And, they are field proven to work—saving you time and increasing the success rate of application migration projects.
While focusing on applications is a critical component of your Windows 7 migration you can’t forget about your users. The massive time and effort of manually scheduling deployment to users can be a large project. New solutions have emerged in this area as well. App Stores not only allow you to deliver new apps to users but can also be used by IT and end users to manage and schedule OS Deployments in a way that minimizes mass help desk calls and network traffic, allows IT to have a controlled deployment and gives end users control over when their machines will be updated
You can complete your Windows 7 projects by the XP deadline, but you need to leverage advancements in automation for these critical areas:
- Assessing application compatibility status
- Remediating issues
- Publishing fixed applications to your deployment solution
- Scheduling deployments with users
Be sure any solution you select has the following critical capabilities:
- Proven and reliable in many successful Windows 7 migrations, application virtualization projects and day-to-day application packaging
- Allows you to implement best practice MSI and application packaging standards at the same time you are assessing and preparing applications for Windows 7 deployment
- Ability to deploy back to System Center with the new user-centric Application Model fully populated
- Fully integrated with an App Store so that once you are ready to update users for Windows 7 – you can easily provide self-service scheduling
- An automation layer that not only reduces the manual tasks – but one that supports the automation techniques and tools that you already know – like PowerShell
Thousands of companies have used proven Application Readiness solutions to successfully migrate to Windows 7 while at the same time establishing a competency in managing application preparedness on an ongoing basis. You can implement new standards and practices to enable a continuous Application Readiness process so that as you are filling day-to-day application requests you are ensuring your entire application estate is always ready for the next change.