|By Luis Aguilar||
|March 10, 2005 12:00 AM EST||
Corporate migration to a Linux desktop requires rigorous premigration planning to succeed. The goal of migration is to finish with a Linux desktop that is cost-effective and responsive to the organization's needs. Without proper data center planning, the migration won't meet this goal and can become a technical and organizational challenge.
During premigration planning, it's crucial to answer the questions: What can I migrate? What do I need to migrate? How much is it going to cost? Who's going to do it? And when is it going to happen?
It's useful to keep in mind what the organization's IT requirements will be in the future, what the current hardware lifecycle is, and what the time frame is for software licensing.
A company or agency determined to move IT towards web-based applications for key business activities can easily switch to a Linux desktop with a browser such as Firefox. An organization determined to increase the hardware lifecycle from three to five years can consider Linux desktops to extend the life of its old hardware. An organization with a large long-term software licensing deal due that expires in the next three years should test the Linux desktop, if for no other reason than to use it as a negotiating weapon. Lowering costs with Mozilla, Evolution and OpenOffice does not necessarily require a complete migration to a Linux desktop.
Alacos (www.alacos.com) uses a best-practices desktop migration methodology called Migration Mapping. Migration Mapping consists of five key steps necessary to a successful migration. They are:
- Audit the Current Environment
- Analyze the Audit Data
- Design the Solution
- Map to an Organizational Matrix
- Automate the Organizational Transition
Audit the Current EnvironmentAn audit, the first key step, determines the actual cost of your current software and hardware environment, the applications currently in use and how the IT infrastructure is bound together. The point of this step is to determine how third-party applications, proprietary applications and external-facing applications (both proprietary and licensed) are deployed and used in your organization.
The base data to gather are the number of desktops in use, the number of applications used, the printer situation, line-of-business applications and the server and database infrastructure. Data on usage should be coordinated in a spreadsheet that contains information on software and hardware by department, by function and by business need. The cost of the OS, software, hardware, printing, back-end and support should be included.
The quickest, but least reliable, way to audit an organization's IT needs is to count software licenses. It will give you an overstated picture of software usage because most users rarely use all of the software installed on their desktops. This approach won't uncover any unlicensed software or illegal programs downloaded from the Internet that are being used. Knowing what's actually installed and used in an organization is crucial to creating a migration plan and integrating it successfully.
The most rigorous way to measure an organization's software use is to run an auditing and usage program on its network. Useful and actionable data will be available after a week of running auditing software, but it's preferable to run it for a full quarter to really understand changing software usage patterns with-in departments. For example, a finance department might use significantly different software during a quarterly or annual wrap-up than it does during a regular month.
There are various software tools available to conduct an audit. The Business Software Alliance (www.bsa.com) offers free trials of audit tools. Sassafras Software (www.sassafras.com) and Tally Systems (www.tallysystems.com) both offer commercial usage and auditing software. The cost can range from $15-$25 per computer for usage audit software licenses. Microcost (www.microcost.com) offers usage consulting in Europe and a lengthy report about software usage.
Beyond usage auditing, it's crucial to review the network and desktop data situation. Although many companies strive for all data to be on a network and backed up, that's rarely the case. Users have important business files on their desktops, as well as e-mail files and address books. Employees with laptops often don't keep data adequately synchronized to the network - if it's not automatic, they don't do it. Each organization is structured differently so it's important to spend time reviewing what business data resides on the network and what lives on the user desktop.
The last audit to undertake is to inventory the IT skills of both an organization's IT staff and its general population. Who on the IT staff can run Linux capably? Who already uses Linux at home? Who likes OpenOffice or StarOffice? Ask these questions at an early stage to identify the Linux champions in your company.
Analyze the Audit DataThe second key step, analyzing the audit data, requires reporting and visualization capabilities. Use a spreadsheet to sort and define data by group and function. Use Visio or Draw to create a visual map of the network and desktop environment. The goal here is to detail the IT structure and determine where migrating to desktop Linux would add value. It also pinpoints which groups can be migrated to Linux most easily.
It's usually a big surprise finding out what employees do with their desktops. The top activities are usually e-mail, Word documents and proprietary business applications (Internet or desktop). Applications like Excel and PowerPoint are usually found in heavy use only by small groups of key employees.
There are often a lot of programs installed on user desktops that shouldn't be there. They're either unlicensed software (remove it quick before you're visited by the BSA) or programs downloaded from the Internet. It's always interesting to find hacking tools hidden on the in-house network.
Games and Internet use are generally higher than most companies would like and good usage data may translate into changes in business policies. Switching to a Linux desktop will let IT administrators control software use more easily.
A typical audit will find that a company needs to replace its front-end mail client, office suite and web browser for security reasons and move employees to a network and printer environment using Samba.
Any changes in the desktop environment should reflect changes that have been made or will be made in the back-end infrastructure. Although one could switch to a new mail client and use a special connector to access a proprietary mail server, it's more useful to move the mail server to a Linux server running an open source mail server such as Open-Exchange.
Design the SolutionThe third key step is to design the solution based on an analysis of the IT audit. Because the decision-making is based on data, a solution can be developed that meets the organization's needs. The goal is to build a Linux desktop that replaces Windows at a fraction of the cost with no loss in business capabilities. A data-centered process will allow a company to fix on an IT structure that outcompetes rivals in the future.
Use the data to determine what applications and servers need to be migrated. Then find out whether an alternative exists on Linux or whether a compromise solution is available.
The usual way to develop a solution is to go through a series of choices for each application. First, find a Linux version of the software. If there's no Linux version, find a viable alternative such as StarOffice instead of Microsoft Office. If there's no alternative, then consider emulators such as CodeWeavers, Win4Lin or VMWare to run Windows applications on Linux. If the emulator approach won't work, then run a terminal server such as Citrix or LSP to deliver desktop access to the Windows program.
If none of these solutions work, then port the application to either a web-based application or a Linux desktop application. Porting an application is time-consuming and expensive, but if a company is already moving to web-based applications then that approach fits into its overall IT business strategy.
An organization will usually choose a Linux distribution that delivers enterprise-level support and training. The current desktop distributions that provide these services are the Novell Linux Desktop, Red Hat Enterprise, Sun's Java Desktop System, Mandrakesoft and Turbolinux. Xandros delivers customer support and service to smaller and mid-sized enterprises.
Choosing a new mail client, web browser and office suite is straightforward. Linux alternatives exist for each of these applications. Office suites that are commercially supported are StarOffice, while OpenOffice is freely available. The biggest problem with current office alternatives is that Excel macros don't work in Calc, the alternate spreadsheet program. This can be a challenge for moving financial and accounting groups to open source office alternatives, but it's worth re-creating those macros in Calc so everybody in a company uses the same standard program.
The other issue for office applications is communicating with external business partners. Using PDF as the standard for business communications will mitigate most document issues. PDF is also more secure because it's virus-free.
One goal of software design is to drop applications. Many companies rely on outdated applications that don't meet business objectives. Moving to more flexible and modern applications can result in significant efficiency and cost-savings.
Map to an Organizational MatrixThe fourth key step in the process is to map the software solution to the hardware across an organizational matrix. An application matrix for each group in a company is applied against the group's desktop hardware. Every piece of software that's going on the desktop should be determined prior to implementation. Every new hardware system should be defined at this point.
Once the solution has been mapped to the organizational matrix, then software, hardware and training costs can be established. Overall, the cost of moving to a Linux desktop and the cost of going to the next-generation Windows system will be equivalent so long-term savings are seen through the OS, office applications, lower IT costs for network management and lower security risks.
Automate the Organizational TransitionThe fifth and final key in pre-migration planning is to finalize the transition plan using automated migration tools. A transition plan consists of laying the software design and organizational matrix against the real-world organization and timeline to determine how to automate mass migration. Although these considerations have already played a part in developing the IT solution, this is the moment to place those plans against group schedules and deadlines.
The goal is to set down in detail who in the organization will migrate, when it will occur and what post-migration support will be needed. It's important to the success of the migration. Consider the quarterly and yearly cycles of the various groups. Take into account the trade show plans of the sales and marketing staff. Remember quarterly and annual financial preparations. Migrating during a group's busiest time ensures failure.
Every possible migration process that can be automated is defined at this point. Automation is crucial to mass migration. The transition plan should include who's doing the work using which migration tools for servers and desktops. Manually migrating user data and manually installing a desktop OS and software is a painstaking, error-prone process that requires an experienced Windows and Linux technician. Since it's time-consuming, migrating manually is expensive.
ConclusionThe most important part of a Linux desktop migration is to develop a rigorous migration plan during the pre-migration phase. Migration Mapping consists of the five key steps in a successful plan - Audit the Current Environment, Analyze the Audit Data, Design the Solution, Map to an Organizational Matrix and Automate the Organizational Transition. Following these five key steps provides a data center approach to revising an organization's desktop and software infrastructure.
Alacos: Linux Migration SpecialistsAlacos (www.alacos.com) a Linux software company located in Seattle, Washington is focused on the migration of Windows data to Linux. Alacos is the maker of Linux Migration Agent, which can move data from a Windows PC to a Linux PC via a crossover cable or network. Linux Migration Agent can move email from Outlook to Novell's Evolution e-mail client, Internet Explorer browser settings to Mozilla and accomplish many other time consuming tasks that are involved in a Windows to Linux Migration.
The basic integration architecture, as defined by ESBs, hasn’t changed for more than a decade. Most cloud integration providers still rely on an ESB architecture and their proprietary connectors. As a result, enterprise integration projects suffer from constraints of availability and reliability of these connectors that are not re-usable across other integration vendors. However, the rapid adoption of APIs and almost ubiquitous availability of APIs amongst most SaaS and Cloud applications are rapidly redefining traditional integration approaches and their reliance on proprietary connectors. ...
Jul. 2, 2015 03:18 PM EDT Reads: 552
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jul. 2, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,195
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Jul. 2, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,200
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context wi...
Jul. 2, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,049
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
Jul. 2, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,024
"We have a tagline - "Power in the API Economy." What that means is everything that is built in applications and connected applications is done through APIs," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 2, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,053
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 2, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 836
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Jul. 2, 2015 09:24 AM EDT Reads: 608
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Jul. 2, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,311
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare to be blown away with a glimpse of the future.
Jul. 2, 2015 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 923
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
Jun. 29, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,734
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Jun. 29, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,215
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jun. 29, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,569
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
Jun. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,272
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Jun. 27, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,287
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...
Jun. 26, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,275
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jun. 26, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,154
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
Jun. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,057
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
Jun. 25, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,211
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, and the “Third Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place June 7-9, 2016, at Javits Center in New York City. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Jun. 22, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,871