Written by Allen Biehl, Director, Software Strategic Services
January 26, 2011
Raise your hand if you’ve gone through a company-wide operating system migration in the last four years. Anyone?
Given the combination of a rocky economy and the lack of a compelling argument for Windows Vista, chances are it’s been a few years since you experienced such a large-scale deployment. Many organizations made a conscious decision to stick with Windows XP as their OS standard for longer than was typical in years past. A number of factors contributed to this decision, but the fact is, the overwhelming standard OS used in the corporate environment today is well over four years old.
Now, Windows 7 has reopened the discussion. Updated user interfaces, improved security and a host of other improvements have convinced a number of CIOs that it’s probably time to shelve the old OS in favor of the new. The fact that Win7 runs like a champ on just about any desktop that has been sold in the last five years means that hardware isn’t a limiting factor. Software on the other hand is.
While your desktop machine or laptop may run Windows 7 just fine, what about your corporate applications? Are they going to function properly? Certainly there are workarounds in Windows 7 for noncompliant applications to run in special virtual sessions, but that becomes one of the factors that should be accounted for in your deployment plan. The challenge is to identify those applications that may need special attention.
That’s where your Software Asset Management system comes in. A quality SAM repository should be able to tell you what applications are deployed in your environment. Couple that with the number of installations and you can begin prioritizing which apps need to be replaced or upgraded before deployment and which can be patched or virtualized. (And if you have actual usage data, then you can refine your planning even further.)
Sadly, most organizations don’t have a SAM database that can provide this level of information. In fact, even if you know the information about your installed products, where are you going to find out if those apps are compatible with Win7? You can consult the Microsoft compatibility site, but that’s a line-by-line, app-by-app comparison that could take hours or days to compare to your complete list.
The good news is that help is at hand. CompuCom employs a proprietary tool set to take SAM data from a variety of sources (SCCM, Symantec (Altiris CMS), Tivoli, ZenWorks, etc.) and normalize that information into a clear hierarchy of applications. Publisher names are standardized. Product names and versions are consolidated. Version numbers and releases are reconciled. Then, your entire database is compared to the official list of Win7-compatible applications – augmented by data from individual publishers, to ensure the most updated compatibility reporting. A few clicks later and you can hand your OS deployment project manager a complete list of applications that need to be replaced, updated or virtualized.
Find out more about CompuCom’s comprehensive SAM and Windows 7 deployment planning services. Set up a meeting with one of our experts.