Teachers, students and staff at Spring Independent School District in Houston know the drill. Every summer their computers are wiped clean, and they begin the school year in the fall with a new computer image: an operating system, Chrome browser and Microsoft Office.
James Watson, director of technology services for SISD, says this strategy fits in well with the district’s two-year migration to Windows 7. When people upgrade to Windows 7, the IT department installs the old XP apps to the newly imaged computer via a Novell ZENworks client.
“We’ve been doing this for several years, so people who have been with us for a long time understand that they may have the same computer, but a different image,” Watson says. “It’s a tremendous timesaver for us because an IT person doesn’t have to do the install on every machine.”
Once the user boots up the new image and installs all the apps, he or she can access old Word and Excel files and other data over the network drive. “We try to train people not to save too much data on their hard drives,” Watson says. “We have a user portal people can use to access their files.”
Thus far, about 13,000 of the district’s desktops have been converted to Windows 7. Watson says the remaining machines will more than likely be replaced over time.
28%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)
Amy Konary, a research vice president for software licensing, provisioning and delivery at IDC, says there’s no question that tools such as ZENworks can help organizations more effectively manage a Windows 7 migration. “I think IT departments understand that these migrations can be very time-consuming, so anything that lets them be proactive is a tremendous benefit,” she says.
Georges Khairallah, a network specialist for Chino Valley Unified School District in California, says his team has approached the midway point in its migration from Windows XP to Windows 7.
For the most part, moving standard apps such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat to the Windows 7 environment has been fairly straightforward. “Our issues with moving applications over from XP to Windows 7 have been minimal,” Khairallah says.
6 Steps to Application Readiness
IDC’s Amy Konary 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:
- Identify what’s being used. Obtain an accurate view of the applications that are deployed across the organization.
- 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.
- 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.
- Plan the migration. Having an accurate view of applications ready for migration enables the IT department to determine the budget and resources it needs.
- 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.
- 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.