December 14, 2012, 4:14 PM — This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.
Supporting an ever-increasing number of enterprise applications has always presented a challenge, but this pain is especially acute when operating system (OS) upgrades -- such as from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8 -- are rolled out.
"Application mapping," the process of identifying and reinstalling users' application sets, can be automated and helpful, but the traditional process is highly inefficient. However, a new approach to application mapping substantially eases the impending aggravation of a Windows migration.
With traditional application mapping, the process of identifying and reinstalling the user's application set can be automated by identifying relevant applications in the old system's inventory and translating, or "mapping," them to a ConfigMgr package and program. This process is often referred to as "Package Mapping."
In fact, the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit has included a little-known application mapping solution since it original release (BDD 2.5). Variations of the original solution can be found on various public blogs; all use some form of string comparison to match Add/Remove Program entries to ConfigMgr packages and programs. At the center of the process is a custom table, populated by an administrator, containing inventoried applications display names in one column and ConfigMgr package ID's in another. A sample of what this PackageMapping table may look like is below.