Selecting Specific application Versions

To help reduce the long-term total cost of ownership (TCO), you must reduce the number of supported applications in your organization. For each supported application, you must allocate time, training, tools, and resources to plan, deploy, and support the application. Standardizing your list of supported applications can help to reduce the amount of effort required to support your deployed computer configurations .

If you determine that multiple applications are performing the same task in your organization, Microsoft recommends that you select a single application and include it in your standard portfolio, with an emphasis on the following criteria:

■ The application is part of a suite of applications. Applications that are part of a suite (for example, Microsoft Office Word 2007) are more difficult to eliminate from your portfolio because you typically must eliminate the entire suite.

■ The vendor supports the application on the new operating system. Identifying support options early can reduce your costs later.

■ The application adheres to the Designed for Windows logo program . Applications that display the current compatibility logo have met stringent guidelines for compatibility with the current version of Windows .

■ The application provides an .msi package for deployment. If the application provides an .msi package, you will spend less time preparing the application for deployment.

■ The application is AD DS-aware. You can manage AD DS-aware applications through Group Policy.

■ The application is the latest version available in your inventory. Deploying a later version helps ensure the long-term support of the application because of obsolescence policies

■ The application provides multilingual support . Multilingual support within the application, when coupled with multilingual support in the operating system (such as the multilingual support in Windows 7), enables your organization to eliminate localized versions of the application .

■ The application provides a greater number of features . Applications that support a greater number of features are more likely to address the business needs of a larger number of your users .

To select the appropriate version of an application, perform the following steps:

1. Identify the latest version of the application currently installed in your organization.

2. Determine whether a later version of the application is currently available . If so, Microsoft recommends that you include the later version of the application in your analysis.

3. Verify that you have vendor support for each version of the application.

4. Identify the license availability and cost for each application and version.

5. From all the versions available, select one version that is supported on all your client computers.

6. Validate the selected version in your test environment, verifying that it is compatible with your new operating system, Windows update, or Internet Explorer version.

Testing and Mitigating Issues

After you analyze your issues in the ACM, you can continue to explore your compatibility issues by using several development tools provided with the ACT The development tools enable you to test for a variety of compatibility issues, including Web site and Web application issues, issues related to running as a standard user in Windows 7, and issues that might arise because of actions taken by an application's installer program. Additionally, the ACT provides a tool that can help you resolve many of your compatibility issues: the Compatibility Administrator. To resolve your compatibility problems, you must follow these steps:

1. Identify your most critical applications. Create an inventory of your organization's applications and then verify certification status of the included applications to see whether they require testing.

2. Identify any application compatibility problems . Test each application, determining any compatibility issues if necessary.

3. Resolve any application compatibility issues . Identify and create application compatibility solutions by using the ACT tools, which include the IECTT, either the stand-alone version or the virtual version of the SAT, the SUA, and the Compatibility Administrator.

4. Deploy or distribute your test and certified applications and solutions . Use a deployment and distribution tool, such as System Center Configuration Manager 2007, to deploy your certified applications and compatibility issue solution packages to your client desktops

When testing an application in a new operating system, Microsoft recommends that you retain the default security feature selections. Microsoft also recommends that you thoroughly test the applications, replicating as many of the usage scenarios from within your organization as possible . Finally, Microsoft recommends that you enter your issues and solutions into the ACM so that you can track the data from a central location.

When testing a Web site or a Web application, Microsoft recommends that you include both intranet and extranet sites, prioritizing the list based on how critical the site or the application is to your organization. Microsoft also recommends that you thoroughly test the Web sites and Web applications, replicating as many of the usage scenarios from within your organization as possible. Finally, Microsoft recommends that you enter your issues into the ACM so that you can share that data with both Microsoft and the ACT Community to receive potential solutions for your issues .

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