Despite its limitations, a new resource from Microsoft will help IT pros tackle Windows 10 compatibility challenges with their enterprise applications.
Application compatibility is one of the biggest challenges companies face when migrating to a new operating system. To ease part of this burden, Microsoft this month launched its Ready for Windows website, which IT professionals can use to check if their third-party applications will work with Windows 10. But because the website relies on independent software vendors (ISVs) to submit their applications, it does not provide a complete list of compatible software.
Still, "I could see that being a very handy tool," said Steven Powers, IT manager at Millar Inc., a medical technology provider in Houston. "That's why a lot of companies test their apps before moving to a new OS. If we could have done that ahead of time, by all means, we would have been very happy with it."
Millar was an early Windows 10 adopter and has almost completely deployed the OS across its user base. The company had to test some applications prior to the migration, and it may have saved some time if a tool like the new Windows 10 compatibility website were available, Powers said.
"This is a critical time for enterprises and enterprise ISVs to get ready for Windows 10," said Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights and Strategy, a research firm in Austin, Texas.
An ISV opportunity
Because many ISVs are moving on to Windows 10, enterprise customers who don't deploy the new OS in the next 10 to 18 months could risk security and support problems by standing pat on an older operating system, Moorhead said.
Patrick Moorheadpresident, Moor Insights and Strategy
"Enterprises should consider switching to new ISVs if their ISVs don't support Windows 10," he added.
The benefits of the new Windows 10 compatibility website also extend to ISVs, because it brings visibility to their applications, said Emmanuel Mathew, president of Agiline LLC, a software development firm in Ontario, Calif.
"In this day and age, anything that offers self-promotion is a great feature to be able to utilize," Powers said.
For ISVs to get their applications listed on the Windows 10 compatibility site, they have to fill out a brief online application, Microsoft said. The company will notify applicants if they're added to the directory within five business days.
Windows 10 compatibility challenges
Especially in large organizations, IT pros can have a difficult time with OS migrations, and many are wary of upgrading until they test everything, Mathew said.
"If you can make it easier to make sure your apps are supported, that's very helpful," he said.
Businesses that have older, unsupported applications often times do their best to find a workaround, if they don't opt to move on to different applications. One approach uses virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), which allows IT to deliver Windows desktops and applications to users -- even those on computers with older operating systems. Many of the top virtualization vendors report an uptick in VDI adoption whenever a new version of Windows comes out.
Windows 10 has been the fastest-growing Windows operating system to date, Microsoft said. As of May, Windows 10 is on over 300 million active devices. As of January, that included 22 million enterprise devices.
Many IT pros are already running Windows 10 in their environments, or have plans to deploy the new OS across their workstations and are in the testing phase.
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