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Laptop Dispair

A short while ago I wrote about Windows Vista and some of the implications it has for organisations.
Since then there have been several developments. At the start of May 2006 the analyst firm Gartner mooted that Vista will ship en masse in the second quarter of 2007

A research note released this week from Gartner Inc. predicts that Microsoft Corp. will miss its target to ship Windows Vista on PCs by January 2007. According to Gartner, Vista won’t be broadly available to customers until the second quarter of 2007

InfoWorld, 2 May 2006

The report document is here; there is a fee for the original.

There has also been a lot of commentary from many bloggers – from Robert Scoble to MiniMicrosoft – and a lot more.

All of this commentary – from analysts, press and bloggers – is having an impact with CIOs and their teams. I am seeing a lot more customers planning to refresh to Windows XP SP2 during 2006 and stay on that new platform for ‘a while’. The general impression is that Vista is still a ‘moving target’ – not helpful for planning purposes.
Written at: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I promised in my last post on Windows Vista that I would comment on on large area of any desktop refresh – application refresh and validation.

In the last six or seven years we have seen several phases of this process – moving from DOS to Windows 3.1; moving from 16 bit Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 or NT4; and moving from NT4 to Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Each of these desktop OS changes introduces a fresh round of application testing.

Here is the typical process – one that is being followed my most organisations.

  • Select a new standard desktop OS
  • Most customers are at Windows XP professional or are rapidly re-standardising on this platform.
  • I have recently seen a wave of ‘third generation’ Windows XP refresh projects – for deployment in 2006 and to be in place until 2008-2010
  • Usually a combination of SYSPREP, ZENworks Imaging and ENGL tools are used to create a universal image.
  • Inventory the current list of supported and deployed applications
    • We see more usage of tools such as ZENworks Asset Management helping here
    • Most organisations have ‘hundreds’ or ‘thousands’ of applications
  • Pragmatically evaluate whether there is a consolidation in applications possible
    • Aquisition and expansion historically means that applications are duplicated
    • Lax standards and non-centralised, departmental purchasing also leads to multiple solutions being in place
    • Consolidation can lead to license savings and more financial muscle in negotiating a better deal
  • (re) package applications
    • Many IT organisations are now squarely focussed on packaging applications as Microsoft Installer (MSI) packages
    • ZENworks includes the Macrovision Installshield Admin Studio – this is really helpful – and can move NAL snapshots (AOT/AXT) to MSI packages
  • Test
  • The next post will cover the re-packaging and test phase of this process – one of the largest areas of time expenditure – but also one of the most vital. I’ll talk about how good process and procedures will really make this successful.

    Notice how nothing so far has been ZENworks specific? Everything here is really for any customer deploying XP and refreshing their standard desktop. My final post will be to tie this all together with ZENworks glue and magic – and show how we can make it very, very efficient and cost effective.

    As always – I’m looking for your feedback and updates – comments welcome.

    Written at: Calgary, Alberta, Canada