Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Tackling Enterprise App Incompatibility
Tackling Enterprise App Incompatibility
Tackling Enterprise App Incompatibility
Tackling Enterprise App Incompatibility
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Tackling Enterprise App Incompatibility

114

Published on

As Windows XP comes to the end of its natural life on 8 April 2014, thousands of applications that run under the old operating system will need to be upgraded for a move to Windows 7 or 8. …

As Windows XP comes to the end of its natural life on 8 April 2014, thousands of applications that run under the old operating system will need to be upgraded for a move to Windows 7 or 8.

The majority of commercial applications are available in newer versions of the Windows operating system, and users simply need to stay current. However, some businesses may find that they are unable to do so for various reasons, perhaps because they have been developed in-house, or are one of the few commercial applications that don’t have an upgrade path to Windows 7 or 8.

In these instances, what are the options when it comes to applications that can’t be upgraded? How can businesses overcome issues associated with legacy apps when upgrading the rest of their applications to Windows 8?

Published in: Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
114
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
1
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Tackling Enterprise app incompatibility By Arif Mohamed
  • 2. Page 2 Tackling Enterprise app incompatibility How businesses can overcome issues associated with legacy apps when upgrading to Windows 8 AsWindows XP comes to the end of its natural life on 8 April 2014, thousands of applications that run under the old operating system will need to be upgraded for a move to Windows 7 or 8. The majority of commercial applications are available in newer versions of theWindows operating system, and users simply need to stay current. However, some businesses may find that they are unable to do so for various reasons, perhaps because they have been developed in-house, or are one of the few commercial applications that don’t have an upgrade path toWindows 7 or 8. In these instances, what are the options when it comes to applications that can’t be upgraded? How can businesses overcome issues associated with legacy apps when upgrading the rest of their applications toWindows 8? There are several courses of action available - none of which match up to upgrading the hardware and software infrastructure to take advantage of the latest technology! Windows 7 and 8 are simply more powerful operating systems thanWindows XP, and like most software, they run best on modern hardware.The latest Intel processors offer 64-bit quad-core computing that spells high-performance applications and greater levels of employee productivity. However, for business that absolutely have to continue running particularWindows XP programs, it is possible to continue running those legacy applications under a locked- down version ofWindows XP, or in a virtualised environment, and gain some functionality from them. There are some larger enterprises and governmental organisations that run many thousands of mission-critical Windows XP machines and are not able to upgrade them in time as Microsoft officially ends its service and support. Some of them have chosen to continue running their Windows XP desktops and laptops, whilst paying Microsoft for Custom Support, which includes ongoing security patches. However, this may be expensive for most small and medium- sized businesses as it starts at around £120 per desktop and doubles in cost each year. Although legacy applications will continue to function as they always have, the reality of extending the life ofWindows XP software is that the security risks increase whilst the system becomes less and less compatible with modern peripherals and applications. Software manufacturers will focus their attentions on the latest versions of their products, and away from maintaining or securing existing enterprise applications. Consequently,Windows XP users face present and future incompatibility and a lack of product development for existing applications.They also stand to miss out on the performance and efficiency gains that the latest operating platforms have to offer. Nevertheless, some businesses will choose to maintain their ownWindows XP systems without Custom Support from Microsoft or their partners.This can be a viable option if they are able to runWindows XP separate from the rest of the IT system, and have the technical expertise to maintain and manage their legacy applications. Products are available to help with this, such as AppSense Application Manager.This can lock down a current supported XP environment, preventing any further executables or applications running without the system administrator’s approval. Security Alert Security is a major concern when it comes to legacy applications. Running vulnerable systems that could potentially expose customer data in regulated markets can have repercussions in terms of legal and industry compliance. Windows XP may become a target for hackers as Microsoft ends its security updates, so systems must be kept watertight to mitigate risks. Windows XP’s email and web browser clients in particular are likely to be the main vectors for attack from malicious users, so businesses are advised to limit or block their access to the Internet. Tackling Enterprise app incompatibility
  • 3. Page 3 Tackling Enterprise app incompatibility It is a good idea to add extra protection around the Windows XP machines, additional endpoint security systems and intrusion detection. And by locking downWindows XP systems completely, ongoing security patches and updates will no longer be needed.Windows XP machines could be run standalone or a number of them could be connected withVLANs in combination with firewall rules to block them off from the rest of the internal network. Businesses might choose to use a tool such as Microsoft EMET (Enhanced Mitigation ExperienceToolkit) to harden theirWindows XP systems.The EMETToolkit runs on Windows .NET Framework 4 and is designed specifically to help prevent hackers from gaining access to those systems, and exploit vulnerabilities in the legacy software. However, Microsoft warns that whilst EMET can disrupt current exploit techniques, the technology is not able to stop future exploit techniques, and is therefore only part of the solution. Rather than continuing to operateWindows XP instances on their old desktops and notebooks, businesses may take this opportunity to reinstall the operating system on a newer hardware platform, such as the HP EliteDesk range of desktop quad-core PCs. In this case, the legacyWindows XP operating system will most likely require drivers for any new connected peripherals such as mice, keyboards, hard drives and printers, which will need to be installed. At the end of the day, however, it’s much smarter to take advantage of the enhancements in theWindows 7 or 8 platform that comes preinstalled with the new machine, which is optimised for the latest Intel processors, graphics chips and monitors and so forth. Windows XPVirtualisation The most popular option will be for businesses to run Windows XP SP3 in a virtual and secure environment, called WindowsVirtual PC,Windows XP Mode. It is possible to download and run aWindows XP emulator mode under Windows 7 Professional that will allow legacy applications to run. However, it is possible to get greater functionality by running thoseWindows XP legacy apps on a more powerful virtualisation platform.There are several options available here. The first is by installing a larger virtualisation environment such as Microsoft App-V.This allowsWindows XP instances to be run under multiple segregated virtual machines on the same server. Each of the separate applications can be centrally managed and delivered to the desktop user through a desktop operating system deployment app such as Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager. Desktop virtualisation environments like App-V can support geographically-dispersed users on multiple devices, whilst providing access to business critical applications that is fast, flexible and reliable. Another Microsoft virtualisation technology that delivers virtual applications to the end user isWindows Server’s Remote Desktop Services (RDS).This makes it possible for administrators to deliver centrally managed applications to Terminal Services users, and enables virtualised applications to run side by side with local ones, integrating them with the Start menu to make them easier to access. There is also a Microsoft tool for creating and managing WindowsVirtual PC images onWindows-based desktops aimed at corporate users, and this is called Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V). MED-V is part of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). MED-V streams legacy applications to the end user’sWindows 7 desktop, and runs them just like any other application, even allowing them to have desktop shortcuts. A few things to keep in mind, though. MED-V is not being updated to work withWindows 8; the setup and operation of MED-V requires significant time and effort; and it is also only available to customers on Enterprise Agreements with Microsoft, and not a good fit for small and mid-sized businesses. Finally, for organisations that want to run largerWindows XP virtual environments, serving legacy applications out to end users from a data centre, there is MicrosoftVirtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). MicrosoftVDI is an architectural model that has a number of components including Hyper-V, Remote Desktop Services, Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), and Microsoft System Center products, all mentioned above.
  • 4. MicrosoftVDI enables entire desktop operating systems such asWindows XP orWindows 7 Enterprise to run on a hypervisor server located in a datacentre, delivered to users as virtual desktops using RDP. By deploying a MicrosoftVDI infrastructure, users can access either their own personal virtual desktop, which they can customize as desired, or a shared pool of identically- configured virtual desktops. This is a big undertaking in business and IT terms, requiring significant planning and investment, and most organisations would, no doubt, prefer to upgrade their applications toWindows 7 or 8 editions. Other options There may be particularWindows XP applications that have been developed or extended in-house, or which the organisation has the confidence to redevelop to a supported platform. But others will not be so sure: for example, many in-house applications are written specifically to be used with a browser front end, but some browser applications written for Internet Explorer onWindows XP will not run correctly on IE8 under Windows 7. Redeveloping those apps will require technical expertise and can be costly. Another alternative to extend the life of systems that depend onWindows XP is to useWindows Server 2003 R2, as it is essentially ‘Windows XP Server’. It also has a support date 15 months afterWindows XP’s end of life date: July 14, 2015. The two operating systems are based on the same kernel, so it may be possible to gain some functionality fromWindows XP applications. But once again, this takes expertise and server licenses are a cost consideration, as is the lifecycle of the operating platform. One of the best courses of action is to retire the legacy application and migrate the functionality to a new, supported application. In reality, most applications can be upgraded to versions that run onWindows 7 or 8. Also, studies have shown that up to half of the applications installed onWindows XP machines were not even being used by the business workforce, so it is possible that a thorough inventory will detect application wastage. Cloud-based services are a good option to consider for replacing outdated programs, because they offer flexibility, scalability, mobile access and lower operating costs. For example, legacy and unsupported versions of Microsoft Office (such as Office 2003 whose support also ends in April 2014), which no longer run onWindows 7 Professional or 8 Pro, could be replaced with the online Office 365 instead. Moving forward The most straightforward option, and the one that makes the most business sense, is to upgrade as many legacy applications as possible to the newWindows 7 or 8 versions. At the end of the day, these newer operating systems have been designed to run far more efficiently than older platforms likeWindows XP.They support new form factors such as high-performance multimedia desktops, clever devices like the HP EliteBook Revolve that double as a laptop and a tablet, and the latest smartphones. Windows 8 brings new levels of workflow efficiency to businesses with touch and app tiles; and its support for cloud apps is changing the way that people work: on the move, collaborating as teams, and constantly connected to each other and the Internet. Purchasing new HP PCs and tablets withWindows 8 pre-installed will ease the IT burden and introduce new Windows 8 features to the business. In addition, today’s PCs offer dramatically more CPU power, memory, and disk storage than the XP-based systems of just a few years ago. Legacy applications might be tried and tested, and therefore largely stable, but IT innovation marches on and business competitors are taking advantage of everything today’s computing platforms have to offer. Now is a good time to take your business forward. By Arif Mohamed Copyright © IDG UK - 2014 Page 4 Tackling Enterprise app incompatibility

×