|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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accelerate their digital channels with APIs, drive partner adoption, monetize their assets, and achieve a...
Oct. 31, 2014 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,111
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
Oct. 31, 2014 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,183
SYS-CON Events announced today that AgilePoint, the leading provider of Microsoft-centric Business Process Management software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 2nd International @ThingsExpo which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. AgilePoint is the leading provider of Microsoft-based Business Process Management (BPM) software products, has 1,300+ on-premise and cloud deployments in 25+ countries and provides the same advanced BPM feature set as J2EE vendors like IBM and Appian for the Microsoft .NET native environment. AgilePoint customer...
Oct. 31, 2014 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,290
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He will discuss opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and tec...
Oct. 31, 2014 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,616
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customizable platform to easily integrate into existing software solutions, embed business logic and build s...
Oct. 31, 2014 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,969
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, will describe an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people’s real needs and desires.
Oct. 31, 2014 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,836
SYS-CON Events announced today that TeleStax, the main sponsor of Mobicents, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TeleStax provides Open Source Communications software and services that facilitate the shift from legacy SS7 based IN networks to IP based LTE and IMS networks hosted on private (on-premise), hybrid or public clouds. TeleStax products include Restcomm, JSLEE, SMSC Gateway, USSD Gateway, SS7 Resource Adaptors, SIP Servlets, Rich Multimedia Services, Presence Services/RCS, Diame...
Oct. 31, 2014 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,710
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: Samsung recognizes that true, accelerated innovation cannot be driven from one source, but requires a...
Oct. 31, 2014 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,389
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, has spent 16 years as a marketing, product management, and busin...
Oct. 31, 2014 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,344
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
Oct. 31, 2014 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,006
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Oct. 31, 2014 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,675
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
Oct. 30, 2014 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,224
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
Oct. 30, 2014 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,475
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
Oct. 30, 2014 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,619
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
Oct. 30, 2014 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,089
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems Group, will discuss how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, senso...
Oct. 30, 2014 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,782
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
Oct. 30, 2014 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,203
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics...
Oct. 30, 2014 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,642
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
Oct. 30, 2014 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,313
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
Oct. 29, 2014 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,087