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the zoom using the slider on the top right.
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GCN : February 2015
MORE THAN NINE MONTHS have passed since Microsoft terminated all sup- port for Windows XP. Even though many government agencies successfully made the transition to Windows 7, it’s already time for IT manag- ers to start planning for the next operating system migra- tion, as mainstream support for Windows 7 just ended on Jan. 13. Even though Microsoft will continue to provide security patches until Jan. 14, 2020, there’s no time like the pres- ent to start planning ahead to protect your infrastructure. Many agencies delay migration because it is a huge task and it can be risky, time consuming and expensive. The time required for a migra- tion depends on agency size and the number and types of applications. It is recom- mended that IT departments start planning at least one year in advance. A complete migration will cost an agency at least $250 per machine. Fortunately, government agencies can save both time and money while continuing to provide essential services to citizens by using automated tools and a four-step migra- tion process: Step 1: Planning ahead: Inventory, analysis and ra- tionalization. The migration process cannot begin until all applications, hardware and network users and resources within an organization have been verified. IT managers can use automated tools to take inventory and compare application files to an estab- lished compatibility database. Incompatibility between ap- plications, hardware and the new operating system can be identified, and the content to be migrated can be rational- ized. The time to completion can also be estimated based on the amount of data to be migrated. These programs also help to establish and maintain an inventory of all systems and software, while providing valuable informa- tion about the users of each application. Step 2: Applications: Testing, remediation and repackaging. Once IT manag- ers have determined which hardware and software will be migrated, they must make sure that applications work with the new operating sys- tem. Automated compatibility testing helps to identify areas of risk early in the process and allows for remediation and repackaging. Customized reports also help IT staff eas- ily find and fix compatibility issues in a matter of minutes, instead of days, weeks or months. When deciding whether to migrate legacy systems, IT managers must weigh the value of the application and its importance to the agency’s mission. Perhaps only a few employees use the applica- tion, or maybe the person who developed the program is no longer available to support it. Agencies must also make sure the browser is certified as secure and operational with the new operating system. Citizen-facing applications may require a different browser than an internal fac- ing browser. Step 3: Deployment. To suc- cessfully move an end-user system to a new operating sys- tem, several time-consuming processes must be completed. It is estimated it takes most organizations at least an hour to reimage and deploy a single computer with a new operat- ing system. To help with the process, a systems imaging solution can be used to cre- ate several “master” images that can be used on multiple machines. Additional updates and per- sonalization can be added on top of the image as required. A centralized deployment system can install images on remote computers where on- site IT support is not available. Other automated systems can complete complex tasks such as unattended deployment after hours. Additionally, a cloud solu- tion that allows end users to self-manage the migration by scheduling a convenient appointment is a better use of everyone’s time. That way, IT staff can actually spend time providing essential support, and end users can plan ahead for the interruption. Step 4: Support: Post-mi- gration maintenance. Once a user’s system is migrated, automated tools can support the new operating system environment. Through this technology, systems can be tracked, updated, secured and managed on a consistent basis. This helps IT managers meet compliance require- ments and make sure that the new environment will con- tinue to provide efficiencies. Even though 2020 seems like a long time from now, it’s only five years away and will certainly sneak up fast. By planning ahead and using the right tools and processes, IT managers can use a migration to increase agency efficiency while saving time and money. • — Jose Carlos Linares is CEO of the Open Technology Group. Even though many government agencies made the transition to Windows 7, it’s already time to start planning for the next migration. JUNIT BY JOSE CARLOS LINARES INDUSTRY INSIGHT Are you ready for the next OS migration? GCN FEBRUARY 2015 • GCN.COM 19 0215gcn_019.indd 19 2/2/15 9:39 AM