Moving house can be one of the most stressful projects anyone faces. There’s a lot of preparation needed to find the property, get funding, complete all the necessary paperwork, etc. Then the time comes to actually make the move and the challenges are around packing up what furniture and cherished belongings you want to take to the new house. Of course, there’s probably also a lot of “stuff” collected over the years that you finally get around to recycling or dumping. In many ways, this whole experience isn’t unlike what’s needed when doing a major Windows update.
1E has been pioneering the topic of automated Windows migrations for a while now. With 2017 being the year most organizations really make their move to Windows 10 (read our Windows Migration survey report here), I have been speaking to some of these businesses to understand their need to streamline the whole process.
It was interesting that some have deliberately chosen to reduce the scope of the migration project, while some have assumed that this is a year-long project at the minimum or even longer. While many of the obvious challenges raised were ensuring hardware was appropriate or worrying about how to move large installation images around the network, a common theme was managing applications as part of the process. Which applications are deployed? Which are being used? What should the correct products and versions be going forward?
These are exactly the issues the new Application Migration capability in 1E’s Windows Servicing Suite addresses.
Application Migration is a new tool from 1E that forms an integral part of the ‘1E Windows Servicing Suite’. It allows IT administrators to easily configure rules that define and control how users receive their Windows 10 desktops with all the apps they expect.
Let us talk about a common scenario:
Matt, in charge of Windows migrations, is administering and planning the Windows 10 rollout for an engineering organization. He is aware that they love their Visual Studio, dev tools like memory profilers, code analyzers like ReSharper, and unit test tools amongst others. He is also aware that tools like ReSharper cost a premium. He’d like to make sure that developers get all the tools they love and use daily, but would also like to cut down on premium applications if they are not being used.
This is one of the many scenarios in which Application Migration can help.
The first phase is information gathering. By using System Center Configuration Manager, application and usage data is gathered from all end points. The data shows which applications are used frequently, occasionally or not at all.
From this inventory, Matt can review which applications and versions are actually being used, not just what is thought to have been deployed. It also shows just how complex the environment is. There may be dozens of versions of Acrobat Reader or Visual Studio installed across a large organization. IT would prefer there to be a small number of known versions to improve reliability for end users and reduce support burden.
The second phase is to define granular and flexible rules against applications in the estate. Firstly to specify which are the preferred versions of applications, then to define the products that need to be removed, retained, upgraded or replaced as part of a Windows 10 migration.
Once that preparation is in place, those rules are used during the Windows 10 update process to ensure that the end user’s computer has exactly the applications and versions that they need and, importantly, can be supported by IT.
Administrators can ‘preview’ the effect of the defined rules on any given device in the Application Migration UI before migrating, thus making the experience transparent. When Application Migration is combined with 1E Shopping (1E’s self-service tool), users can request for their machine to be migrated using a self-service wizard that will show the user which applications will be migrated, thereby making the experience very engaging.
So, now you’ve moved house. If everything went to plan, you’ve cleared out the clutter, everything’s tidy, you’re ready to do regular house maintenance and, if necessary, the next move should be a lot easier.
For the IT organization, Application Migration continues to be a valuable part of on-going systems management following initial migration. Stay tuned for Part 2 in this blog series to learn more about all the nice and nifty features we’ve built into 1E Application Migration.
If you’d like to know more, please contact us.