What Microsoft's FSLogix Acquisition Means For You

On November 19th, 2018, Microsoft announced its acquisition of Atlanta, Georgia-based FSLogix for an undisclosed sum to extend the company's virtualization capabilities and provide an even better virtualized Windows and Office experience delivered on Microsoft Azure — a mission that the start-up shared since its inception in 2012. 

While it isn't clear yet how the FSLogix team members or products exactly will be merged into the software giant's organization, the start-up's CEO Randy Cook said in his statement that "FSLogix will soon integrate with Microsoft and join the strength of its enterprise productivity solutions and global reach."

(Randy, my congratulations — what an achievement! FSLogix will be an amazing addition to Microsoft.)

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MSIX Ready For Adoption? Not Yet!

You might have noticed a lot of vendors in the application packaging space shouting from the rooftops that they are supporting MSIX, Microsoft's new packaging format. Anyone who can run an automated PowerShell command to create and convert an app could technically claim MSIX support.

However, it is easy to get carried away with the impression that MSIX is actually READY for adoption. This is a big misconception as we are at least 18 months away from that point! While it is important to start testing and playing around with the new packaging standard, it is far more important to worry about how you will manage until it reaches maturity and how to set yourself up for success once it happens.

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Your Modern Application Testing Strategy: Big Bang vs. Parallel vs. Prioritized

What drives you crazy at work? Is it your co-worker having every single call on speakerphone and later accusing you of eavesdropping? Cutting her fingernails during a conference call? Eating a smelly tuna sandwich at his desk — every single day without a fail?

But if you are an o perational  packaging manager your pet peeve might be people that don't take application testing seriously enough and later complain if there is a problem. If you are nodding your head, I feel your pain — please read on and share your thoughts and experiences with me.  

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5 Things To Consider Before Diving Head-First Into Application Virtualization

According to a new SpiceWorks State of IT - Trends, Budgets, and Purchase Drivers study, the biggest driver for enterprises to embrace virtualization and cloud computing is to (1) reduce the support burden on IT staff (33%) — followed closely by (2) increase their flexibility and scalability, (3) enhance disaster recovery capabilities, (4) provide their users with access to data anywhere, and (5) reduce capital expenditure. Of course, these reasons aren't going to be much of a surprise to anyone — after all, they are the major benefits of virtualization and cloud computing!

As with any major IT Transformation initiative, application virtualization has to be approached carefully and strategically. So, before diving straight into the deep waters, it pays to do some much-needed due-diligence to avoid some costly and hard-to-fix mistakes later on. 

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No MSIs For Office 2019 — And Why You Should Care

Microsoft recently announced that Office 2019, the company's next perpetual Office suite (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Skype for Business applications as well as  Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business servers) will be released some time this fall, with previews beginning to ship in the second quarter of 2018.

If you read the announcement carefully, you will find some interesting facts:

  1. Office 2019 will only be supported on any current Semi-Annual Channel release of Windows 10 as well as the next Long-Term Service Channel release of the Windows 10 Enterprise 2018 and the Windows Server.

  2. Customers will only receive five years of mainstream support with an option to pay for an additional two years of extended support — effectively cutting the support timeline by 30%!

  3. Office 2019 client applications cannot be deployed using MSI packages (Windows Installer technology), but will only be released with a Click-to-Run installation method. However, server products will still be provided as MSI.

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Application Packaging In An Evergreen IT Context

According to a quick poll of 419 IT project managers and IT executives done by Juriba, 32% of respondents said they are most afraid of the potential business disruption caused by Windows-as-a-Service roll outs, while 22% fear potential application compatibility issues most. 

These fears, though often downplayed by Microsoft, are very realistic and viable! A Windows 10 migration will often touch more than 1,500 applications within an enterprise — that means potentially packaging and testing more than 3,000 apps a year! 

Doing this manually, without a strategic Evergreen IT management approach and with no scalable and repeatable process, is completely inconceivable. But where do you start?

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How To Get Valuable VDI Performance Footprint Metrics Without Additional Workload/Cost

 Wouldn't it be nice to be able to know with certainty the performance footprint impact of an application before deploying it into a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)? This way, you could decide whether it is suitable or not based on data rather than gut feel. However, most IT teams do not have this option. 

There are several reasons for that. First, in most scenarios, this means yet another test and additional testing tools, which takes a long time and requires budget. Secondly, dedicated VDI performance testing teams don't perform these tests on the business apps because they don't have the specific knowledge of the products that they're testing.

Today, I am going to show you a new and exciting way of how you can collect the performance metrics in the background while the real users are testing their business apps. This way, you gain a realistic understanding of the impact your application will have on your VDI environment.

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Persistent vs. Non-Persistent VDI

Virtual desktop technologies are changing the ways companies do business. Instead of having individual on-premises hardware workstations running their resident desktops, planners can use something called Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to offer end users the same sort of environment — without the same hardware framework.

Within Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, there are two types of choices: persistent and non-persistent VDI. Each one has its own benefits and disadvantages in the corporate IT context.

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The Benefits Of Automated App Packaging & Testing By Stakeholder Role

A recent Gartner survey shows that 80% of all enterprises will have started to migrate to Windows 10 by the end of 2018. By then, Windows 10 will be 3.5 years old and will have seen seven versions (namely 1507, 1511, 1609, 1703, 1709, 1803, 1809)!

One of the biggest roadblocks to a smooth and efficient rollout (and subsequent service updates) is application packaging and testing. Despite Microsoft's claims that it did not test 99% of its apps before migration and its encouragement for enterprises to do the same, meaning test applications in-flight and only if things break, I have yet to encounter any large organization who is willing to take this kind of risk.

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How Do Application Owners Fit Into An Evergreen IT App Management Approach?

One of the most asked questions that I get when I talk to large global institutions, enterprises, healthcare or other larger organizations about managing their application testing process is: "What is the best way to organize my application owners? How do other businesses do it?"

This has always been an important question — but recently, the hows, whats, and whys of your app management organizational team structure have taken on a completely different dimension. As organizations are increasingly managing hybrid environments consisting of legacy business applications mixed with software-as-a-service and cloud computing, the frequency and complexity of packaging and testing cycles have skyrocketed and, therefore, constant diligence is critial to stay afloat.

In the last decades, you were rolling out a new Windows OS every three to four years. Now, you run updates every six months. These have to be coordinated with the Office 365, Windows 10 Server, and SCCM updates. Add in other third-party business applications, like Bloomberg, that require monthly updates, and you have complete chaos.

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