Microsoft Forcing Companies to Move off of Windows XP, Requiring Them to Deal with Applications, Infrastructure, and Deployment | Article

MicrosoftApril 30, 2014. That day should concern any company still using Windows XP as an operating system. That is the last day Microsoft Corporation will support the popular operating system. “For those who have not migrated, the day represents an eviction notice for XP users,” says Julie Watkins, Workplace Product Marketing Manager for HP Enterprise Services.

Watkins estimates 65 percent of American companies still use XP today. The crippled economy forced many enterprises to put off upgrading their hardware and software. Flaws with Vista generated “bad press,” reinforced the commitment to XP. In recognition of those flaws, Microsoft put all its efforts into its latest operating system, Windows 7, which it introduced last fall.

“With Windows 7’s release, Microsoft has already stopped enhancing XP. Security patches are the only thing they should expect for XP,” Watkins reports. “And that will go away in a couple of years.”

Jim Cooper, Chief Technologist, Workplace Services for HP Enterprise Services, explains the lack of security patches creates “a big risk” for companies large and small. “They have two choices: move to Windows 7 or pay Microsoft for any required fixes,” he says.

“The changes will affect companies large and small in every geography and industry,” says Watkins. Companies on a four-year refresh cycle “should address this issue immediately,” Watkins points out.

The challenges of moving to Windows 7

HP says there are three challenges to this operating system upgrade.

Applications. “Applications are king,” says Cooper. He suggests companies survey their IT environment to ensure their crucial applications can run on the next operating system. Cooper notes “there are big changes” in how companies packaged applications for redeployment into a Windows XP environment and how they prepared applications for Windows Vista. So, for customers who did not move to Windows Vista, they need to review their process and standards for packaging applications for redistribution. That means companies may not be able to deploy their current applications once they switch to the new operating system.

For applications that are not compatible with Windows 7, companies basically have three alternatives: sunset, replace, or remediate the application.

There are also a few extended options for remediation. Using a Type 2 Hypervisor like Windows XP mode or Microsoft MED-V for Microsoft Desktop Optimization (MDOP), subscribers will enable continued use of Windows XP applications that are not compatible with Windows 7. Another choice would be to use Presentation Virtualization where the application runs in the data center and displays on the local client. Both approaches have benefits and limitations and also require additional investments.

IT infrastructure. Cooper says customers who have not updated their management infrastructure will find it necessary to make upgrades as “the prerequisite” to managing applications on Windows 7. “The economy is getting better. Companies are taking this opportunity to upgrade their hardware at the same time as upgrading to Windows 7,” Watkins observes.

Deployment. Expertise and planning are keys to success, Watkins says. Designing, building, and testing the solution first helps companies efficiently deploy Windows 7 and more easily perform enterprise-wide operating system and application upgrades down the line. As part of the deployment, companies will need to educate their employees on new technology to improve user productivity and limit user downtime and frustration. After all, this new operating system is significantly different from XP, which people have been using for nearly a decade.

How HP can help

The service provider can help companies make this switch. “We can do everything for them,” says Watkins, from up-front Windows 7 assessment services – including applications and infrastructure assessment, migration planning, application remediation, deployment and end-user training – to a wide range of HP workplace hardware.

“We offer companies a full solution from a single source,” she says.

Lessons from the Outsourcing Journal:

  • Microsoft will stop supporting the popular Windows XP operating system on April 30, 2014. Companies have to either move to Windows 7 or pay Microsoft for any required fixes, especially if they are concerned about IT security.
  • Companies have to think about three things:
    1. Provide the proper infrastructure for the new operating system.
    2. Make sure the applications can run on the new operating system. If not, they will have to sunset, remediate, or replace them.
    3. Plan the deployment.
  • HP experts can help companies with the migration, providing a one-stop shop to minimize the disruption and maximize the solution.

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