The legacy application. Some have a longer legacy than others but we all have them. Those applications that won’t run on anything but Windows XP, or in some cases even, Windows 9x. It was a little over 3 years ago when I was installing a $250,000 CNC milling machine that I came into contact with my biggest legacy application, both in terms of size (the CNC had its own 3000 sq. ft. room) and age. You see the CNC was running a MS-DOS based application. Not a big deal, most of them will still run in XP, but in this case the OS was also DOS 6.22.
Today you might be dealing with your own legacy applications (hopefully none as bad as the CNC) but thankfully you have a lot of options. For the very minor issues like OS version detection and permissions you can usually fix them with the Application Compatibility Trouble Shooter built into Windows 7 (aka Compatibility Mode in Vista). For bigger issues there is the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 which will allow you to scan your network, detect applications with compatibility issues and create and deploy shims to fix them. Finally, for those applications that just won’t work, there is virtualization. XP Mode in Windows 7 is one option that uses virtualization to “host” the application in an XP virtual machine running in the background. To the end user all they see is a red border around the application window. Now managing 2-3 XP Mode machines in your environment shouldn’t be a big deal but in an 8, 25, 500, 1237 seat network it becomes more of a challenge.
This is where MED-V, aka Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization, comes into play. MED-V is XP Mode on steroids allowing you to build, deploy and manage virtual environments to the desktop clients allowing those legacy applications to run while giving you the management control you need to keep things running and keep your sanity.
Now there have been a ton of questions on XP Mode and MED-V and while there is a day dedicated to solving app compat issues at TechDays there is also a series of webcasts with Mark Russinovich on solving app compat issues.
Watch the videos, join the roundtable on September 24th or come out to TechDays and learn how you can solve your app compat issues! It is easier than you think!