By Oscar Olivo, Senior Consultant, VMware’s Professional Services
With the expiration date for Windows XP looming—April 8, 2014—many IT organizations are looking for the most efficient path to migration. One potential stumbling block is that, when migrating to Windows 7/8, IT also needs to move from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system to provide greater performance and compatibility with newer software.
This presents a problem from an application compatibility standpoint, as legacy software that is critical to the business may not even install on a 64-bit operating system, much less run properly.
For the applications that require remediation, not all organizations will be able to upgrade to the latest version of software for the following reasons:
- The newest version of the application may not work properly on a 64-bit OS.
- The cost of licensing to upgrade to the newest version of software is restrictive.
- The server infrastructure accessed by the application may require an older version of the client software (e.g., Project 2010 client is not supported with Project Server 2007).
- The in-house development efforts to certify existing applications as 64-bit compatible are too costly or the internal development resources are not available to do so.
- The plan to update/migrate off the software that needs remediation will not meet the April 2014 XP end-of-support date.
Luckily, VMware ThinApp allows applications to be virtualized on a variety of 32-bit and 64-bit platforms. This means that applications virtualized on Windows XP 32-bit can be run on Windows 7 or Windows 8.x 64-bit operating systems—an effective method of remediating applications and driving the migration off Windows XP.
In this situation, it is important to note that applications might still contain operating system elements, such as DLLs, executables, and registry entries (in addition to the needed application files). The more of these files that are contained in the virtual application, the greater the difficulty in patching and securing the application once support for Windows XP SP3 is phased out this coming spring.
Although ThinApp can assist in remediating applications, it is critical to define the length of support for these use cases. Each affected business unit needs to understand the security, operational, and (possibly) cost implications of continuing to run legacy software, even in a virtualized state. Having an end state for each remediated application will not only drive standardization to newer software versions, but (most importantly) will also maintain momentum toward a supported, modern operating system.
Read more about why you can’t afford to put off your Microsoft migration over on the VMware Accelerate blog.
Oscar Olivo is a Senior Consultant with VMware’s Professional Services Organization, bringing to the team more than 19 years of IT experience in financial, consulting, and healthcare environments. In addition to being a VMware Certified Professional (for Desktop and Data Center Virtualization), he is fluent in Spanish, English, and currently learning Japanese. Oscar is also a proud University of Michigan alumnus, which at times puts him at odds (literally) with some of his mid-western co-workers.