A Toronto-based company and a vendor of software designed to ease operating system and virtualization migrations have partnered to target the uncertainty organizations have with moving to Microsoft Corp.’s new Windows 7 operating system.
Toronto-based IT infrastructure software and service provider Soroc Technology Inc. announced the partnership on Monday with Bartlett, Illinois-based virtualization and operating system migration consultancy App-DNA.
Part of the agreement is such that Soroc’s IT professionals will use App-DNA’s AppTitude tool with its customers. The software analyzes an application, identifies compatibility with the target platform, and best fit for that application.
Alex Topitsch, director of advanced solutions with Soroc, said the trouble encountered by organizations with predecessor Vista has naturally contributed to the hesitation to migrate to the new operating system, because many of them chose to skip Vista to wait for Windows 7.
“I think they see a lot of risk there with any Microsoft upgrade, especially this one,” said Topitsch. “They’re doing two hops, not just one.”
Soroc helps organizations not only perform operating system migrations, particular those of Microsoft, but also migrations from Server 2000 to Server 2008.
Especially on the server side, said Topitsch, many companies have been reluctant to move away from older versions. “That’s why we see many customers with still NT sitting on their floor,” he said.
Topitsch said the real stumbling block when it comes to operating system migrations is moving the applications sitting on the platform for fear of compatibility.
In the case of virtualization migrations, Topitsch said the challenge is streamlining and packaging applications.
“This toolset expedites that and gives the intellectual property to be able to be able to do the two-way analysis on that and the packaging,” said Topitsch.
Chuck Brady, App-DNA’s business development manager for North America, said chief information officers are faced with having to move from an older operating system they’ve continued to use for many years, as well as wanting to introduce new technologies that will reduce costs like application virtualization.
But in doing so, application compatibility and fit become issues, said Brady, who added that typically, the approach was to “throw a bunch of bodies at it … but taking a lot of time, effort and resources, as well as adding a lot of risk.
“The fear, and really just the mystery and unknown of their applications and how they will be affected by this new technology, has prevented them from going great guns at all these technologies,” said Brady.
With Microsoft operating systems in particular, Brady said worries over compatibility and cost-versus-reward led to many organizations pulling back the reins on Vista.
“Now with Windows 7 … these organizations are willing to move forward,” said Brady. “But they’re throwing up their hands and saying, ‘how are we going to do it?’”
According to Darin Stahl, lead analyst with London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group Ltd., operating system upgrades require a significant amount of regression testing not just for the platform, but for things that run atop, it like the clients, applications, Web sites, connectivity.
“It’s anything that makes up that user experience that makes a person productive,” said Stahl.
Unlike Vista, which required the deployment of new hardware, Stahl said Windows 7 runs on less robust hardware and is generally tighter and cleaner. Besides, organizations have already performed some level of hardware upgrade since XP, he added.
The hardware challenges are really the peripherals – like scanners and point-of-sale units – that organizations tend to hold onto for a long time, and the problem of supported drivers, said Stahl.
Organizations are mostly taking the simpler approach of rolling out Window 7 in tandem with hardware refreshes, said Stahl.
App-DNA will continue to target its software at the midmarket and enterprise, and as adoption of Windows 7 and virtualization grows, the partnership with Soroc will give the software vendor greater exposure, said Brady.