Windows 7 promises to be one of the biggest product launches for Microsoft. Unlike the Vista launch where enterprise adoptions were muted, analysts forecast that Windows 7 will show significant adoption over the next few years. One example of this is a recent IDC White Paper that forecasts more than 170 million units of Windows 7 will ship by the end of 2010.(1) It has become obvious that Windows 7 is on the minds of many of our customers as well. We keep hearing our customers ask these questions: What do I do to prepare for Windows 7? What should I migrate? How do I do it? How do I ensure my users continue to be productive? The answers lie with Novell Endpoint Management solutions, featuring our ZENworks technology.
It's common knowledge that major operating system upgrades can be disruptive. They take time and require planning. If not handled properly, upgrades can sap IT resources and drain employee productivity. But all of that can be avoided if you have the right set of tools. For a successful Windows 7 migration, the right set of tools consists of a Novell ZENworks trifecta—the combination of ZENworks Asset Management, ZENworks Application Virtualization and ZENworks Configuration Management.
The Answers You Need
As already mentioned, one of the first questions you might ask when considering migrating to Windows 7 is, what exactly do I migrate? Before you can answer that question, there is a series of questions you first need to answer in regard to your IT and business environment. Where are my Vista and XP devices actually located? Do these devices have the right hardware configuration to support Windows 7? If I move those devices to Windows 7, will their applications still work?
To answer these and many other questions, Novell ZENworks Asset Management leverages industry-leading discovery and software inventory capabilities to give you a clear picture of the hardware and software assets that exist in your environment. This arms you with the information you need to make the right choices before a migration even starts. For example, Novell ZENworks Asset Management lets you create readiness reports that show if the hardware in your environment will be compatible with Windows 7. (See Figure 1.)
These readiness reports also show you what software you have and identify any with known Windows 7 compatibility issues. It's crucial to your ongoing business operations to understand if a move to Windows 7 will break any of your key applications. This is especially true since according to Gartner, “ISVs often take 12 months or more before they officially support a new version of Windows, even for incremental releases such as Windows 7.” If you find that some of your applications will not work with Windows 7, ZENworks Asset Management can also help you determine how critical those applications actually are to your operations by reporting on how much your users use those applications.
Additionally, ZENworks Asset Management lets you easily manage the contracts and leases for all your IT assets. It gives you a complete understanding of the devices that might be due for a hardware refresh, further helping you to better manage your IT assets and prepare for a Windows 7 migration. (See Figure 2.) All of these inventory and reporting capabilities inherent to ZENworks Asset Management combine to give you the information and insights you need to understand how a Windows 7 migration will affect your environment and what you'll need to consider if you move forward.
Keeping Your Users Productive
Migrations quite often create serious dilemmas for IT organizations. One of the biggest problems is the significant time spent on regression testing for packaged and custom applications. With all the different combinations of application configurations, versions and use cases, the burden placed on testing every single application on Windows 7 can be significant and put a serious damper on the migration project altogether. One of the key ways to solve this problem is with application virtualization.
With Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization, you can virtualize your applications and then easily run them on your operating system of choice, including Windows 7. Since virtual applications are fully isolated images that are not installed and don't commit changes to the Windows OS, registry or DLLs, they dramatically reduce the time of application packaging and testing, while eliminating any compatibility issues that may arise as applications are added to Windows 7. By leveraging the power of application virtualization, you can help your users quickly migrate to Windows 7, while continuing to reap the advantages ZENworks Application Virtualization brings to your Windows 7 environment.
For instance, you can eliminate failures caused by DLL conflicts and overwritten registry entries when rolling out new software in the future. You can strengthen desktop security by executing applications without granting administrator rights to end-users, and also improve mobile productivity by instantly running your virtual applications from a wide range of media like USB thumb drives. And you can gain these benefits without any change to the end-user experience. At the end of the day, ZENworks Application Virtualization plays a key role in the Windows 7 story by making sure all your applications can make the move quickly, with minimal business impact, and by keeping your workers highly productive and secure on Windows 7.
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Making the Move
Once you've used ZENworks Asset Management and ZENworks Application Virtualization to help you get ready for the move, Novell ZENworks Configuration Management can help you make the move quickly, efficiently and with as little disruption to your business as possible. ZENworks Configuration Management lets you create Windows 7 desktop images and then automatically deploy them to all your devices. As it deploys these images, Novell ZENworks Configuration Management will dynamically install all the correct hardware drivers and applications specific to the individual target devices. It also offers blackout schedules to let you schedule this automated process during times that won't disrupt the business. Leveraging wake-on-LAN technology, it can wake up devices, back-up data and migrate them to Windows 7 overnight.
Novell ZENworks Configuration Management cuts the time and pain of Windows 7 migrations by doing everything for you. Novell customers who've used ZENworks Configuration Management for OS migrations can attest to its effectiveness. The Greater Latrobe School District in Pennsylvania cut desktop imaging time by 50 percent and Richardson International in Canada reduced desktop imaging by 66 percent using ZENworks Configuration Management.
You can also use ZENworks Configuration Management to automatically and seamlessly roll-out any virtual applications you created with ZENworks Application Virtualization to your Windows 7 machines. Even after you've completed your migration to Windows 7, you can continue using ZENworks Configuration Management to benefit your enterprise. You can use it to automatically deliver personal settings and software applications, deploy updates and patches, and even perform remote management. The bottom-line is ZENworks Configuration Management reduces IT headaches, time and cost by automating the manual tasks of your migration while putting control back in your hands.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits provided by ZENworks Configuration Management is that you gain freedom and flexibility that competing products don't provide. ZENworks Configuration Management runs on your choice of operating system (Windows or Linux), your choice of directory services (Active Directory or eDirectory) and your choice of database (Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server or Sybase). It's the industry's only endpoint device lifecycle management solution to offer this level of flexibility. Novell is all about interoperability. We won't lock you into a single vendor. The choice is always yours (See Figure 3.)
Put Success on Your Side
At Novell, we believe Windows 7 will be a key driver in the industry. Still, for any organization to migrate successfully, it needs to have the right things in place. Essentially it comes down to understanding three key things:
- What can I migrate to Windows 7?
- How do I do it?
- When I do it and how do I ensure my users stay productive?
You can choose to turn to homegrown tools, do things manually, or make the move with a clear plan and the right tools. With such a critical move, don't take a chance and risk failure. As Louis Pasteur once said, “chance favors the prepared mind.” So, put the chances of success squarely on your side with the Novell ZENworks trifecta—ZENworks Asset Management, ZENworks Application Virtualization and ZENworks Configuration Management.