Do you remember when Microsoft promised that application compatibility wasn’t an afterthought in the development of Windows XP as it was with its predecessor? Or when Microsoft’s number one ship criteria was that “applications will just work” even though, on average, more than one out of five (21%) applications weren’t compatible? Do you recall when moving to Windows 7 meant going from a 32 bit to 64 bit operating system?

Yes, those were the times when you had to worry about application compatibility big time! That (and the possible business disruption that ensued) was the number one concern when it came to migrating to the next Windows. 

How Much Application Compatibility Testing Is Really Needed With WaaS?

Now that the majority of enterprises has already adopted or is completing their transformation to Windows-as-a-Service, application compatibility is quickly losing its importance. In fact, in September 2016, Microsoft already estimated that the app failure rate was only between a fraction of a percent and two percent depending on your current environment (what are you migrating from), your testing strategy, and your technical debt.

The two ways enterprises have accrued technical debt in past migrations have been by postponing:

  1. Their transition to 64-bit Windows or similar deviation from well-known and proven solutions and
  2. Their transition to standard users which forces them to disable User Account Control (UAC) on Windows 10 resulting in an untested and unsupported configuration.

However, now that Windows 10 is approaching its fourth birthday in August, many large organizations have adopted a more-or-less repeatable and scalable process to manage updates — including clearing technical debt and devising an Evergreen application packaging and testing strategy that emphasizes automation and minimizes manual labor.

Essentially, at this point, your app compatibility should focus on quickly verifying your applications on the new platform and only deal with negative outcomes from this sniff test, while the majority of your efforts and budget should shift to suitability testing.

Why Should You Focus On Suitability Rather Than Compatibility?

As large organizations are tasked to create more agile, more up-to-date and secure IT environments and therefore cautiously embrace Windows-as-a-Service, cloud computing and other constantly updating emerging technologies, they are increasingly looking into application virtualization.

By virtualizing your applications, your applications can be:

  • Delivered and deployed faster, making your landscape more agile
  • Updated on an ongoing basis much easier
  • Tightly integrated into your business processes
  • Device independent, making working on different operating systems a non-issue
  • and much more.

But not every environment is suited for virtualization. There are many considerations to make, such as whether your environment is more suited for stateless VDI or just general state-full VDI, for AppV or AppVolumes, and so on. To determine this, your application owners will have to first identify whether or not their physical applications could work in a virtual state.

Poll: What’s Your App Compatibility & Suitability Testing Strategy?

Click below to let us know what your application compatibility and suitability testing strategy is. Once you have answered, you can see how your peers answered, broken down into region and by gender.

Next Steps

In the coming years, application suitability will continue to increase in importance while application compatibility will almost fade into the background as a must-do commodity task. I highly encourage you to get a 30,000 feet snapshot of your application landscape to gauge general VDI suitability while planning to set predefined KPIs around application performance to determine individual suitability.

One easy and convenient way to do that is by using our lightweight app suitability tool, Access AppScan, that allows you to do both without many additional resources or much investment involved. It can be used as a stand-alone tool, in conjunction with Access Capture (biggest return-on-investment and the most popular choice as it essentially piggy-backs onto your automated discovery phase), or as part of a quick consulting engagement.

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