Dreading Windows 7 or 8 deployments? How advanced application mapping could be your silver lining

By Dave Harding, product manager, 1E, Network World |  IT Management

The potential time savings has an obvious appeal, especially when planning a large-scale migration; but application mapping can do more than save time. First, application mapping can be used to install an upgraded version of particular applications. In the preceding example, installations of Project Professional 2007 are automatically upgraded to Project Professional 2010 during the migration. Second, this process can rationalize and reduce the size of the organization's software portfolio. Again referring to the preceding table, installations of WinZip and jZip will be replaced with 7-Zip at deployment.

While application mapping can add value to a Win7 migration, the traditional approach can introduce new challenges and complexities. The default application mapping rule is to install nothing, meaning every application to be reinstalled during deployment requires an entry in the PackageMapping table. Any product that does not match a PackageMapping table entry will not be reinstalled. For an enterprise managing hundreds or thousands of software titles, populating and maintaining the PackageMapping table may be a daunting and lengthy task.

Also, the process relies on raw, un-normalized ConfigMgr inventory data. Any variation in display name for a particular product must be identified and manually added to the PackageMapping table. In the preceding PackageMapping table, five variations in the display name for Adobe Acrobat Professional 8 exist in the environment, requiring five separate table entries. Any overlooked display name variants for this product not listed in the table will not be reinstalled at deployment.

By far, the most significant drawback is that, by implementing it, the organization implicitly forgoes a rare and prime opportunity to rationalize software versions, reduce software license costs and avoid buying licenses for new versions of unused software. When applications are automatically reinstalled based on their presence in the system's inventory, there is no opportunity to question if the user still needs the application, or consider if a less expensive alternative may suit the user's needs. The result is a costly, inefficient allocation of licenses and unnecessary application bloat.

Lastly, all the ConfigMgr packages mapped using this process must be installed during task sequence execution. This prevents the use of application mapping to install software with interactive installation programs and those packaged to install via a task sequence.

Taking a new approach


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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