Flexera Introduces Software Suite To Smooth Transition To Windows 7

Applications usage management vendor Flexera Software is introducing a suite of software applications that it says can simplify the process of migrating businesses to Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system from Windows XP. AdminStudio Suite 10, available Tuesday, automates the transition project with a six-step process that includes inventorying apps, assessing compatibility, fixing compatibility issues and deploying the new OS.

February 23, 2011

3 Min Read
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Applications usage management vendor Flexera Software is introducing a suite of software applications that it says can simplify the process of migrating businesses to Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system from Windows XP. AdminStudio Suite 10, available Tuesday, automates the transition project with a six-step process that includes inventorying apps, assessing compatibility, fixing compatibility issues and deploying the new OS.

A Gartner report says migration automation tools are becoming increasingly important as enterprises face an April 2014 deadline for Microsoft to end support of XP.

Flexera is offering the AdminStudio Suite as an alternative to various point solutions that perform just some of the tasks involved in a total migration project, says Maureen Polte, senior director of product management for Flexera. AdminStudio Suite is powered by the latest version of the Microsoft Installer (MSI) authoring and editing tool, InstallShield 2011, Flexera says.

The first step is an assessment of the present application environment, which can cover thousands of applications in large enterprises and multiple versions of popular apps like Microsoft Word or Adobe Reader, Polte says. The assessment tool integrates with Microsoft System Center Configuration Management.

"Having to support these multiple deployment environments and multiple versions makes it necessary to put more automation around and to approach this more strategically," she says.
The assessment leads to the next step of deciding whether some applications can be eliminated if they are duplicated or little used, which reduces migration time and expense.The next step is determining which of the remaining applications are compatible with Windows 7. A Flexera report states that only 30 percent to 50 percent of  Windows XP apps run in Windows 7 without some modification. (The suite is focused on XP-to-Windows 7 migration because Vista, the Windows OS that came between them, is little used in the enterprise.)

AdminStudio Suite rates compatibility on a green/amber/red scale, like a traffic light. Green means an app is compatible with Windows 7, amber means adjustments can be made to make the app compatible, and red means the app is incompatible.

Step four covers planning the migration project, particularly deciding which priority applications should be migrated first. The migration will take time, Polte says, and it's not as simple as shutting off XP one day and returning to work the next day running Windows 7. "You need to align your project to your business priorities," she says.

Step five involves fixing compatibility issues, including editing apps and packaging the apps with the operating system, as well as making an image of the package that can be deployed in virtualization environments using Microsoft App-V, VMware ThinApp or Cirtrix XenApp. Step six is deployment of the new OS.

A December 2010 Gartner report on migration programs said that automated migration tools can reduce the time it takes for application testing and remediation by 40 percent or more.While the report did not mention Flexera's software, it did evaluate two fee-based tools, App-DNA AppTitude and ChangeBASE AOK, but noted that they only examine installation packages for compatibility while Flexera's suite manages the whole migration process.

There is also a free migration tool from Microsoft, Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT), but it requires a time-consuming manual process.

While other fee-based tools automate the process, they can cost up to $200 per application, says Polte. Flexera prices AdminStudio Suite 10 on a per-administrator basis for small to midsize businesses or a per-endpoint device for larger enterprises. The company did not disclose specific pricing information.

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