Dec 12 2013

Software Management Tools Aid Windows 7 Migration

Agencies save time and money with solutions that help them efficiently move older applications into the operating environment.

When Oklahoma City underwent a Windows 7 migration a few years ago, its SAP business and Oracle PeopleSoft financial applications weren’t yet compatible with the operating system.

Shamra Noakes, client and server infrastructure manager for Oklahoma City, says the city was operating under a tight budget during the Windows XP upgrade. It needed a tool to port apps over to Windows 7 and manage them with its existing management software, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM).

Noakes turned to a combination of Flexera Software’s AdminStudio and Microsoft App-V, using App-V to build a virtual instance of the legacy software and AdminStudio to port it over to the new Windows environment. “App-V lets our users run the old business app as if it were a Windows 7 application,” Noakes explains. “And AdminStudio was a major timesaver — without it, we would have had to write all the scripts ourselves. One tool did the job of two to three people in one-third of the time.”

The solution was especially cost effective because Oklahoma City already owned both products. It now uses AdminStudio to push out application updates and SCCM for patching, Noakes says.

With the Windows 7 upgrade completed, the city’s 2,500 desktop users run standard apps such as Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Office in Windows 7, as well as the older business and financial software. Moving forward, Noakes says the city plans to roll out Windows 8 on tablets, primarily because SAP and PeopleSoft don’t support Windows 8 yet.

Al Gillen, program vice president for system software at IDC, says Oklahoma found a good transitional solution. “I understand that city governments are cash-strapped,” he says. “It’s a good workaround for a couple of years until their core business apps can be updated.”


The percentage of organizations that haven’t yet migrated 50 percent or more of their applications to Windows 7

SOURCE: “Application Usage Management Survey: Software Migrations & Application Readiness” (IDC, September 2013)

A Microsoft Workaround

While tools such as Flexera AdminStudio are good options, some municipalities choose to use the tools within Windows 7 to execute temporary workarounds.

Lonney Ferguson, senior system analyst for the Information Technology Agency in Los Angeles, says ITA used the virtualization tools within Windows 7 to move a content management application based on Internet Explorer 6 into the Windows 7 environment. In most instances, ITA systems administrators install the virtual application remotely using Novell ZenWorks.

“We pushed the virtual IE6 app out to anyone who has content management responsibility and a presence on the city’s website,” Ferguson says. “It may not be the most eloquent way, but it’s what we have available to use.”

6 Steps to Application Readiness

Amy Konary, a research vice president for software licensing, provisioning and delivery at IDC, advises IT organizations to put each application through an application readiness process to ensure a successful deployment. She shares six best practices to get organizations started:

  1. Identify what’s being used. Obtain an accurate view of the applications that are deployed across the organization.
  2. Carefully review each app. Before starting a migration, sort through each application with a critical eye. With a clear view of both the deployed and used applications, organizations can verify whether the software needs continued support or should be consolidated.
  3. Assess compatibility. Perform application compatibility testing before a migration. Up to 50 percent of applications will require some modification to ensure success in a large migration, such as to Windows 7 or to desktop or application virtualization. Perform application compatibility testing before a migration.
  4. Plan the migration. Having an accurate view of applications ready for migration enables the IT department to determine the budget and resources it needs.
  5. Fix compatibility issues and package. Fix applications that presented issues during the compatibility testing and package applications in accordance with IT standards prior to deploying them in the new environment.
  6. Deploy packaged apps fast and cost-effectively. Deploy applications to users directly via a configuration management system or via a self-service enterprise app store.

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