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

However, new tools are available that take an advanced application mapping approach that combines powerful application inventory and normalization capabilities with operating system deployment automation features. In this new approach, applications are identified by their ID and mapped to software titles available in the organization's software catalog. How applications are mapped is controlled via an administrator-defined rule set. A logical representation of an application mapping rule set can be found below.

The default mapping rule is to reinstall the same version of an application. Items in an organization's software catalog that have been linked to items in an advanced software licensing platform do not require mapping rules to have the application automatically reinstalled. In the preceding example, installations of Project 2010 are automatically reinstalled, even though Project 2010 is not referenced in the mapping table.

Creating and maintaining custom mapping rules is also more precise, simpler and less prone to oversight. The preceding example produces the same result as its cousin (Table 1: Sample PackageMapping table), but with much fewer entries. Instead of matching products by name, they are matched to an inventory ID number. Furthermore, products are linked to normalized data in the software licensing application, meaning that single ID number represents any subtle variants in the product's display name to a single release. For example, where the traditional application mapping solution required five table entries for Adobe Acrobat 8 (one for each of the variants in its display name), the example using an advanced application mapping solution only required one.

Application mapping based on usage

The ability to reinstall an application, or not, based on its usage is what really sets advanced application mapping apart. Adding usage to the mapping criteria affords the organization an opportunity to reclaim or clean up licenses that may not be in use. Referring to the example above, on client systems where Acrobat Professional 8 and 9 are installed but not used ("Unused"), the software is not reinstalled during the migration and these unused licenses are reclaimed.

Some advanced application mapping tools are able to identify three categories of usage for every application: used, potentially unused and unused. This affords administrators the opportunity to create rules specific to each usage category. For example, frequent users of Project Professional 2007 would receive an upgrade to Project Professional 2010, while occasional Project users receive a free project viewer. Finally, for those who haven't used Project in quite some time, no application is installed.


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