Windows 7 migrations raise app compatibility questions

As much as 80 per cent of enterprises yet to make leap to Windows 7, according to software app provider App-DNA

UK-based application compatibility software company App-DNA is to enter the Australian market by opening a Sydney office and Perth R&D centre, prompted by the belief that as much as 80 per cent of Australian enterprises have yet to migrate to Windows 7.

The company’s software is designed to analyse application deployments, assess their compatibility in different hardware and OS environments and automate the remediation of incompatibilities.

According to App-DNA general manager, Glenn Parker, local desktop virtualisation and Windows XP to Windows 7 deployments projects were beginning to explode in the local market, prompting potential issues around application compatibility.

“I’m taken back by the level of activity I’m seeing,” he said. “It doesn’t mean it’s all happening right now, but of the [organisations] of 5000 seats or more, 80 per cent of those are in some kind of project or evaluation stage around Windows 7.”

According to Parker, organisations seeking to independently determine application compatibility when migrating hardware or OSes could spend up to 40 hours and $US1200 per application.

“To do that for an environment of 1000 or more applications would take many months, if not years so by automating that process you can reduce that time by up to 70 per cent,” he claimed.

While desktop virtualisation and Windows migrations were major drivers for software compatibility issues, moving in-house applications to a private or hybrid cloud was yet to emerge as a major driver for application compatibility testing.

“The bigger issues I see are things like IE6 to IE8 compatibility,” Parker said. “Some smaller organisations say they can manage a large portion of their Windows 7 issues but migration to IE8 is a problem for them.

“IE6 to IE8 is very, very manually intensive and very difficult for organisations to do [compatibility] testing with any level of accuracy.”

According to Parker, many enterprises have gone about developing custom, in-house Web applications to run on IE6 browsers, therefore compatibility patches to run on IE8 were essentially non-existent.

“That puts much more of the onus for compatibility testing on the organisation itself, and historically there may not have been good documentation or the developers who developed the application may not be there anymore,” he said.

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @tlohman

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags businessmigrationWindows 7App-DNA

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