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Big-Data Can Speed Up Windows Migrations

By Susan Fogarty, Editor in Chief, IT Migration ZoneSusan Fogarty is a guest blogger from our friends, IT Migration Zone. She recently wrote the article below as an entry on the excellent IT Migration Zone blog. IT Migration Zone is the online community that helps you prepare for today's largest challenges in IT: large-scale IT migration projects. They're here to help IT professionals manage infrastructure and data migrations in an increasingly complex world. IT Migration Zone brings together a community of CIOs, CTOs, and IT executives to share ideas and best-practices to help them navigate a course through this new industry landscape. Professionals can use the community's wisdom of the crowd to forge their IT strategies.


Big-Data Can Speed Up Windows Migrations

Big-data is a big, big buzzword. You are certainly familiar with it, but you may not realize that, along with curing cancer and locating extraterrestrials, big-data can streamline your Windows migration.

Enterprise desktop migration is typically a long and messy process that includes discovery of users, hardware, data, and applications. Figuring out which applications will be compatible with the new OS is even more tedious and time consuming. Microsoft recommends a four-step process to determine application compatibility (inventory, analyze, test, and mitigate), and it offers the Application Compatibility Toolkit to help identify compatible applications. However, these tools offer scarce relief, and there is ample room for improvement. Introducing big-data concepts into the picture can help fast-track Windows migration by providing fast intelligence about the applications and data an organization uses. More importantly, it can provide ongoing data modeling and real-time analysis to give businesses a competitive advantage.

"A good understanding of your data can take you beyond achieving just the basics, enabling you to adapt and exploit opportunities, to accelerate your project, and be better able to cope with setbacks," Julia Bell, chief operating officer of the migration service provider Juriba, wrote in the e-book Five Steps to Accelerating Windows 7 Migration Using Big Data (registration required). "We call it 'business intelligent migration.'"

Juriba produces Dashworks, which the company website calls "an all-in-one data warehouse, application compatibility tool, project management tool and user migration tool." The software performs application discovery and dynamically builds a data warehouse combining this data with other sources of information, including human resources directories, hardware inventory, and application delivery systems, along with application compatibility, application rationalization, and user migration patterns. It can then accelerate and prioritize different aspects of the migration.

Businesses that are already using software asset management (SAM) are well on their way to harnessing big-data for migration success. Much of the discovery and application tracking and inventory work is already done, and the results are readily available. BDNA reports that customers using its data-as-a-service platform can reduce their migration time from Windows XP to Windows 7 by more than 70 percent.

Some SAM vendors are specifically targeting Windows migrations. Last week, Business Continuity Services Ltd. (BCS) announced that its Global Universal Software Library subscription service had expanded to highlight whether an application was Windows 7 compatible. Andy Fisher, new business development director for BCS, said in a press release:

The more we spoke with our customers about their Windows 7 upgrade projects, the more we realised that we could make data available that could support them... This enhancement to our USL service genuinely saves customers weeks of research and compatibility testing.

Of course, big-data involves a significant investment and makes sense only for companies with a large stable of applications that will otherwise benefit from monitoring and analysis. Would an increased focus on data improve your organization's migration strategy?