If you're ready to tackle a Windows 7 migration, desktop virtualization tools can help you make the transition.
One such offering is Quest Software's User Workspace Management business unit, which is a restructuring of its desktop management and desktop virtualization products. Quest is finally combining its many products into something more focused, and even if you don't use Quest desktop virtualization, this kind of user-centric tool is the path all organizations should take to get to Windows 7 before it's too late.
Quest's User Workspace Management combines technology from its recent RemoteScan and ChangeBASE acquisitions with technology from ScriptLogic and vWorkspace, which have both been with Quest for several years. The main goal is to help people accomplish their Windows 7 migration one way or another. (It also has enhancements to System Center Configuration Manager to manage Macs and iOS devices, identity management, and user environment management, but I want to look specifically at the components that help with your Windows 7 migration.)
Puzzle pieces for Windows 7 migration
With Quest's User Workspace Management, you would use ScriptLogic Asset Manager to inventory the applications in your environment, which helps you determine proper licensing and find different versions of software in your organization (for instance, Adobe Reader 9.x, 10.x and the various sub-flavors).
From there, you can use ChangeBASE technology to evaluate those apps for compatibility with Windows 7 and to use with Microsoft App-V. These two pieces are the core of Quest's Windows 7 migration offering, because they apply to both traditional and virtualized desktops.
More on Windows 7 migration:
A guide to Windows 7 migration tools
Planning a migration from Windows XP to Windows 7
Simplifying Windows 7 rollouts with a virtual desktop deployment
Then, if you're moving traditional desktops in your Windows 7 migration, you can use Quest's User Environment Management product (including Desktop Authority and Privilege Authority) to decouple the user environment from the operating system. Plus, you can use application virtualization to separate the apps from the OS.
Of course, a Windows 7 migration isn't as easy as that, so you need vWorkspace to manage the applications and user environments. You can also use virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and server-based computing to deal with applications you can't virtualize or can't include in the base image.
Quest also has the Mokafive client hypervisor, so it adds flexibility to your Windows 7 migration in places where traditional desktops don't meet all your needs. The VDI Assessment Tool that Quest got from Liquidware Labs is also part of this new set of desktop management and desktop virtualization tools. If you do go with VDI, the info that the ScriptLogic Asset Manager gathers can help you size your VDI environment.
Quest is repackaging its desktop virtualization tools at the right time. Citrix has a similar setup with the Virtual Desktop Assessment Tool and AppDNA, but Citrix's tool is really meant to deliver only virtual desktops. Citrix has no interest in the traditional desktop space (other than needing them to have something to migrate from), whereas Quest's offering works in many form factors.
Depending on how far along you are with the hardware refresh cycle, relying on desktop management and virtualization tools to accomplish your Windows 7 migration might not be enough. The fastest way for many organizations to get it done before April 8, 2014 is to decouple as many apps as possible, implement a user environment management tool and start upgrading physical desktops.
About the author:
Gabe Knuth is an independent industry analyst and blogger, known throughout the world as "the other guy" at BrianMadden.com. He has been in the application delivery space for over 12 years and has seen the industry evolve from the one-trick pony of terminal services to the application and desktop virtualization of today. Gabe's focus tends to lean more toward practical, real-world technology in the industry, essentially boiling off the hype and reducing solutions to their usefulness in today's corporate environments.