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Centrix Software 2013 Predictions: Windows 7 Migrations Drive IT's Agenda, with Cloud and Virtualization in Supporting Roles

VMblog Predictions

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2013.  Read them in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed article by Paul Burke, Director of Products, Centrix Software

2013: Windows 7 Migrations Drive IT’s Agenda, with Cloud and Virtualization in Supporting Roles

1.  Demise of Windows XP Turns IT Priority to Windows 7

Just one year ago, about 80 percent of corporate desktops ran Windows XP. As everyone knows, Microsoft's support of the operating system will end in April 2014- a timeline potentially accelerated further as it is predicted that, by 2013, 60 percent of ISVs will have new releases that won't work with XP.

To save themselves the cost and headache of running Windows XP beyond its time, in 2012 most enterprises began XP transition planning. Overwhelmingly, this meant moving to Windows 7. Since it can easily take 18 months to plan, test and pilot a new OS, few enterprises completed their migrations in 2012.

2013 will be the year most IT departments are consumed with transitioning to Windows 7.

Why not Windows 8? Because Windows 7 is proven. Businesses usually wait until a new OS has been on the market eight to 12 months before adopting it. With Windows XP end-of-life on the horizon, IT doesn't have the luxury of waiting until mid-2013 to start their migration.

2.  Physical-to-Physical Transformations Replace VDI

A lot of organizations have spent a lot of time and money on physical-to-virtual transformations, with VDI the focus. It has become clear that VDI is not a one-size-fits-all solution and, although technology advances brought down some of the cost, it didn't come down fast enough and the implementations still haven't gotten easy enough. VDI remains a tough sell and, with the rush to get off Windows XP, IT organizations have run out of time.

To make post-XP transitions as smooth and fast as possible, IT will go with the animal they know:  physical desktops. Physical desktops have been at the heart of IT infrastructure and their staying power can't be underestimated. In 2013, enterprises will put their time and energy into P2P (physical-to-physical) transitions. There will still be niche VDI use cases, but any efforts to bring them to fruition will take a back seat to the much more business-critical focus on P2P/Windows 7 moves.  

3.  Cloud and App Virtualization Adoption Ease Windows 7 Migrations

One of the most difficult and expensive components of an OS migration is the application portfolio.  Many enterprises support hundreds, if not thousands, of applications. Testing them for Windows 7 compatibility and then creating and installing different images that contain different applications can take many, many months. To compress the timeframe and minimize the costs, in 2013 more businesses will look at alternatives to physically installed applications, namely, cloud and virtual apps.

There are already about 100 million users of virtual application platforms such as XenApp, App-V and ThinApp. Because they allow IT to manage applications independently of the OS and device-and eliminate the need to install so many apps with the OS image-we  will see continued growth of virtual applications as part of the overall application delivery mix. We will also see an uptick in application streaming as licensing models, such as those for App-V, make the price more attractive.

The cloud also presents a huge opportunity to reduce the number of apps that IT needs to move to Windows 7-keeping down costs and expediting migrations. Expect to see Office 365 and Google Apps continue to gain traction as cost-effective alternatives to traditional Office desktop licenses.

4.  Consumerization of IT Expands to Self-Service

In 2012, consumerization of IT appeared on corporate radar screens in the form of BYOD (bring your own device). Next year, it will expand beyond BYOD. It will be about empowering users to operate on a self-service, on-demand basis. Employees, who are already conditioned to behave this way in their personal lives, crave self-service in the work environment. The faster IT enables this, the better it will be for users and their employers.

Savvy organizations have already recognized the benefits of a self-service, on-demand environment: it boosts user satisfaction by giving increasingly mobile workers the resources they need fast, whenever they want them, wherever they are, and on whatever tablet, laptop or smartphone they're using.  Plus, it lowers IT costs by automating  and putting policy controls around the processes, thereby reducing IT admin and helpdesk needs.

In 2013, as more enterprises realize that using multiple app delivery technologies (cloud, web, virtual and traditionally installed) can reduce IT costs, they will adopt a blended approach and enable it through self-service.  To make this possible, more businesses will use workspace aggregation solutions, which unify the delivery of applications and content from any and all sources, and let users easily access their applications and content through a single interface (and single sign-on), from any device.

This is exactly what we offer with Centrix WorkSpace Universal. And, we've taken it to the next step, making  the workspace aggregator platform- and vendor-independent so that you can use whatever delivery mechanisms you want today, and have the flexibility to plug in any delivery mechanism-even ones that don't currently exist-in the future.

5.  Robust Desktop Analytics Power  Windows 7 Migrations, Desktop Transformations

IT is clearly under pressure to move off Windows XP and undergo a Windows 7-led desktop transformation that is as cost-effective as possible. So  in 2013, the big make-or-break question will be:  How can IT accomplish this while delivering the right set of applications and content to users, regardless of device?

The only way to do it is by leveraging robust desktop analytics solutions to understand enterprise-wide application usage. Unlike simple point assessment products, which track and attempt to use systems metrics to assess the viability of one kind of delivery option, more robust solutions reveal what the end-user work patterns are, what kind of activities workers do from where, what content is important to them, and which applications are vital for the job. These patterns and profiles can then be automatically matched to which applications make sense to migrate to Windows 7, which can go straight to the cloud, which can be pure mobile apps, and which still need to be locally installed or provisioned through virtualization technologies.

Our customers have found that, by using Centrix WorkSpace iQ to understand user application behavior, not only can they quickly determine which apps to provide via which delivery vehicles, but they can also see which applications aren't even worth supporting post-Windows XP. Many customers have halved the number of applications they needed to migrate, slashing transformation time and costs.

In 2013, as enterprises hear the XP clock ticking louder and louder, they will adopt desktop analytics solutions that help accelerate Windows 7 migrations while creating the foundation for the next-generation workspace.

###

About the Author 

Paul Burke, Director of Products for Centrix Software, has over 20 years of product management, marketing and customer support experience in software businesses of all sizes. Paul's recent roles have been in senior management positions for AVG Technologies, Trend Micro and Citrix Systems. Paul has led product teams to create commercially successful, award-winning products that saw strong customer acceptance by millions of users across customer segments from consumer to large enterprise. His experience spans all stages of the product lifecycle from start-up through mass market adoption to product retirement. Paul has had responsibility for over 25 major commercial product releases that have driven many hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues.
Published Friday, December 14, 2012 9:51 AM by David Marshall
Comments
VMblog.com - Virtualization Technology News and Information for Everyone - (Author's Link) - January 15, 2013 7:00 AM

First, I'd like to personally thank everyone for being a valued member and reader of VMblog! Once again, with the help of each of you, VMblog has been able to remain one of the oldest and most successful virtualization and cloud news sites on the Web

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