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  • Best practices offer guidance for driving dynamic deployments and automating application compatibility
  • Automation and consolidation are key to managing constantly changing IT environments, and reducing migration time, costs and risks
  • Application discovery, rationalization and remediation are crucial to migration success
  • A phased approach to migration planning and execution minimizes business disruption

Dell Software is at the forefront in helping customers successfully move off Windows XP with enabling technologies and best practices to effectively address each phase of migration planning and execution. As a result, Dell customers are accelerating their Windows migrations with state-of-the-art tools that automate both pre- and post-deployment tasks, while keeping costs down and cutting time and labor requirements in half.

According to a recent survey sponsored by Dell Software and conducted by Dimensional Research, companies of all sizes are grappling with a host of migration issues and concerns. A poll of nearly 500 IT professionals with responsibility for corporate desktops and laptops at global organizations revealed that 47 percent still haven’t completed their migrations off Windows XP [1]. As industry averages for the time needed to complete an OS migration range between 12 to 24 months, it’s clear that many in-process migrations won’t be completed before Microsoft’s April 2014 end-of-support deadline for Windows XP.

When support ends, organizations still running Windows XP will face increasing security risks and management overhead. According to Gartner, Custom Support Standard pricing is based on an annual fee per device, with a floor and ceiling price. Per-device fees have been in the $200 range and Gartner has seen total prices in the range of $600,000 to $5 million for Custom Support Standard for the first year [2]. Even an XP system with custom patches applied poses a higher security risk than an up-to-date Windows 7 or 8 environment. Despite the increased cost and risk, companies have been slow to migrate, which mainly is due to a range of migration headaches, as reinforced by 86 percent of the survey respondents who reported challenges with their migration away from Windows XP.

Top Five Migration Hurdles
According to those polled, the top five migration roadblocks are:

  1. Application compatibility
  2. Available time to perform migration/conflicts with other IT initiatives
  3. User training and support
  4. Lost user productivity
  5. Issues with repackaging, remediating and deploying applications

Dell Software relies on a phased approach and the following five best practices to help customers clear the highest hurdles to migration success:

Best Practice No. 1: Create and Maintain a Complete, Updated Inventory of all Hardware, Applications and Users
While proper planning seems obvious, too often organizations fail to maintain up-to-date inventories of all hardware, peripherals and software, as well as who uses them. An inordinate amount of time often is spent dealing with incompatible peripherals or missing drives not detected during the inventory process. It’s also common to overlook installed applications that no longer are used, or the amount of valid data users store on their desktops or laptops.

Best Practice No. 2: Rationalize Content so Migrations Only Entail What is Actually Used and Necessary
Eliminating unused, outdated or redundant applications can reduce migration time and effort dramatically. Each eliminated application can yield significant savings in administrative time required to test, remediate and repackage it.

Best Practice No. 3: Application Testing, Remediation and Repackaging
The biggest challenge for the participants in the Dimensional Research survey was application compatibility, with 41 percent of those surveyed citing that existing applications didn’t work on their new OS[FN]. As the longest phase of most migration projects, conducting application compatibility testing, remediation and repackaging can be a time-consuming and error-prone process.

By automating application testing and remediation, organizations can slash migration time and costs, while reducing the risk of post-deployment failures with early identification of potential compatibility issues that could disrupt business.

Best Practice No. 4: Automate System and User Content Migration
While the application phase can require the most time during the migration project, the actual migration of end-user systems can be highly disruptive and cause excessive user productivity losses unless it’s automated. Dynamic deployments enable companies to go beyond the automation of manual migration tasks to perform remote deployment and configuration of operating systems, applications, service packs, patches, or virtually any digital asset.

Best Practice No. 5: Ongoing Management: Ease System Lifecycle Management
Supporting the new environment begins as soon as the first user is migrated, so Dell Software recommends embracing best practices for managing the entire system lifecycle with automated tools that track and manage systems. In particular, the ability to track, update, secure, and manage systems easily and effectively ensures that the new environment continues to deliver value, while giving IT the flexibility to optimize its hardware, software and OS investments.

In addition to systems management, having an automated tool in place to help manage ongoing application readiness can streamline the process of getting new applications to users quicker. It also can help the organization stay secure and compliant by speeding up the testing of monthly patches and security updates.

Removing Migration Roadblocks with Dell KACE and Dell ChangeBASE
Dell Software delivers value-added solutions to remove migration roadblocks. Dell ChangeBASE addresses the number one barrier by automating application compatibility testing, remediation and packaging. This is a nice complement to the Dell KACE K1000 Management Appliance and Dell KACE K2000 Deployment Appliance, which automate and consolidate the gamut of systems management tasks to secure, manage and maintain the critical IT clients, servers and endpoints of mid-sized and larger companies.

Supporting Quote:
David Kloba, general manager of Endpoint Systems Management, Dell Software
“Migrations are among the potentially most disruptive, costly and risky IT endeavors, which is why so many organizations have delayed moving off Windows XP. Our phased, best practices approach to migrations empowers customers to ease OS, application and system transitions, upgrades, and replacements by offering guidelines for proper planning, along with tools to automate and consolidate processes, and tips on how to avoid disruptions and minimize user downtime.”

About Dell Software
Dell Software helps customers unlock greater potential through the power of technology—delivering scalable, affordable and simple-to-use solutions that simplify IT and mitigate risk. The Dell Software portfolio addresses five key areas of customer needs: data center and cloud management, information management, mobile workforce management, security and data protection. This software, when combined with Dell hardware and services, drives unmatched efficiency and productivity to accelerate business results.

About Dell
Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. For more information, visit www.dell.com.

[1] Migrating away from Windows XP: A Survey of IT Professionals, September 2013
[2] Gartner, Custom Support Will Be Available for Windows XP at a Price, Michael A. Silver, Stephen Kleynhans, January 2013.