Few enterprises have completed Windows XP migration: study

Few enterprises have completed Windows XP migration: study

Summary: Enterprise businesses are not ready for continual software migrations - including the looming Windows XP retirement - and this is placing firms at risk, according to new research.


Enterprise chief information officers are not ready to handle the "new normal" of continual software migrations, according to new research.

A joint study (.pdf) conducted by research firm IDC and Flexera Software surveyed over 750 respondents from software ISVs, intelligent device manufacturers and end-user enterprises. The research found that chief information officers (CIOs) are not equipped to handle continual software migrations. Even while huge migration projects -- such as the move from Windows XP to Windows 7 -- are underway by many firms, virtualization is also gaining traction at the same time, which puts ill-equipped departments at risk due to increased costs, reduced funding, errors and persistent delays.

According to the Application Usage Management report, enterprises are still racing to implement Windows 7 ahead of the April 8, 2014 Microsoft Windows XP end of support date. Microsoft recently warned that businesses and consumers alike are at risk of a "zero day forever" scenario if they do not upgrade, and as a result, security experts believe that once the system is no longer patched, hackers who have zero-day exploits for XP stored up will either let them cause chaos on vulnerable systems or sell them -- which could be disasterous for vulnerable business systems.

See also: Hackers cash in on Windows XP retirement, exploit kit prices to surge?

Over a quarter -- 28 percent -- of survey respondents said they are yet to migrate over half of their applications over to Windows 7 before the XP expiry date, and only 3.7 percent say they plan to take another leap forward and go straight for Windows 8.

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 11.25.35
Credit: IDC/Flexera

At the same time, organizations are also beginning to take on projects to migrate their desktops and applications to virtual environments. The research says that 20 percent of enterprises plan to virtualize between a quarter and all of their desktops over the next two years, and an additional 23 percent said they will be virtualizing between 11 - 25 percent of their desktops in the same time period.

In addition, 28 percent of respondents said they will be virtualizing between 26 - 100 percent of their applications in the next two years, and 23 percent plan to do the same for 11 - 25 percent of their applications over the next 12 - 24 months.

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 11.26.10
Credit: IDC/Flexera

IDC and Flexera suggest that enterprises take the following steps to make application deployments less of a headache for the average CIO:

  1. Identify applications being used
  2. Rationalize applications to eliminate unused software prior to migration
  3. Assess compatibility with the target environment
  4. Plan migration
  5. Fix compatibility issues & package
  6. Hand off the app to a deployment system or enterprise app store for deployment

However, the report says that while enterprises have made progress implementing application readiness automatically rather than manually, many have not yet done so or plan to keep everything manual. Roughly 60 percent of those surveyed said that they currently complete or plan to implement automation processes for at least one of the steps above.

The highest level of automation achieved already within enterprises -- 46 percent -- is for the "identify applications being used" step. The lowest level of automation achieved -- 31 percent -- is for the "fix & package" step. In addition, almost 20 percent of respondents said they had no intention of implementing automation in the "assess compatibility," "fix & package" or "deploy" stages of application migration.

Robert Young, Research Manager, Enterprise System Management Software at IDC said:

"The expansion in heterogeneous IT environments and increased complexity of software licensing models is challenging IT organizations with efficiently and effectively managing applications throughout their lifecycle. Furthermore, many IT organizations inundated with managing complex systems and services are operating within tight budget constraints. As a result, relying on manual processes to ensure proper software utilization often adds unnecessary workloads and increased costs for already overwhelmed IT organizations."

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 11.29.27
Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 11.29.43

Topics: Enterprise Software, Apps, Cloud, Data Management

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • This migration is not doing Microsoft any favors

    More so than virtualization, there has been for a while a strong effort to make applications cloud-based, which would make things OS independent. There is actually a decent chance that Windows 7, which has already become more vulnerable than XP, might become the last Windows OS to achieve high penetration. The transition/migration has not been smooth with even small businesses -- Win7's sluggishness and very random and overall poor support for older printers and software has not been making Microsoft new friends. I wonder how many "We should've just gotten Macs!" will have be uttered once everything is said and done.
    • I doubt this comment will ever bee seen, but...

      Just where in the HELL is WIndows 7 more vulnerable than XP? That statement is plain and simply FALSE.

      Where is WIndows 7 sluggish? Again, that statement is FALSE.

      If you have old software or hardware Windows 7 includes "XP Mode" on the Professional SKU. However, you *should* be working to update your apps, if not, then shame on you.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Sensorship?

    where did that article about iOS flaws disappeared?
  • Hmmm... I see the problem.

    "Few enterprises have completed Windows XP migration."

    I see the problem, the ones still running XP are too stupid to have taken YEARS of advance notice seriously. Oh well, people have to be reminded that Darwin was right...
  • Our business goals do not match with yet another forced migration.

    My job is to support the business goals of the company and keep the users happy while doing so. Windows XP does that and the users are happy with it. The newer versions of Windows don't offer our staff anything which they cant already do easier and faster with their existing XP installations.

    Frankly, my clients are still complaining about the Office Ribbon being a PITA that reduces their productivity.

    W8/Metro isn't faring much better. I have deployed a large test lab full of W8/Metro machines and the response has been mostly negative. The most common complaint seems to be that the OS is "in the way" of them getting their job done. They report that they feel as if they always have to shove Windows out of the way so they can do their work.

    Given that both the new Office suite and the new Windows annoy my clients, cause them to suffer a reduction in productivity, and don't offer them anything better to counter balance that reduction -- I don't see us making a jump to W8/Metro.

    The systems will probably stay on XP with Office 2003 until there is an actual business case to justify the expense of replacing them all. I suspect that other IT departments are also encountering the same sort of events, and that this leads to the migration woes which this story relates.

    • time to check and if LibrOffice will do the job.

      Might work out better (and definitely cheaper).
    • Will you please stop with the "forced migration" whining already?

      Windows XP has been supported by Microsoft for twelve years. Longer than any other general purpose OS. I'd hardly call that forced migration. If you want to continue using Windows XP Microsoft isn't stopping you from doing so. You'll just be on your own.
    • how true JON

      here I have to agree with you for a change , my customers who did buy new box store windows 8 machines very quickly had them down graded to windows 7 pro or ultimate and office 2010 pro.
  • WP not going away

    We have several pieces of capital equipment using XP. We are not going to spend a couple of hundred thousand dollars to upgrade from XP. Instead, we will form an isolated intranet, not connected to the internet. Long live XP.
    • If you can isolate these systems why aren't they already isolated?

      Why have them exposed to the Internet at all?
    • This can work

      It's a practical solution. However, executives will regard it as a permanent fix.

      I consider it temporary because most employees won't comprehend or mitigate the ongoing risk. Day One of the fix is clean & simple. Day Ninety is when a tech connects to the real network cable, checks his web email, and nothing bad happens. But eventually, the snake will bite.

      Might want to stash a full set of image backups plus replacement hard drives (cheaper than recovering from root kit attacks).
  • What? What happened to all those other ZDNet articles?

    Those claiming XP was history, gone, and insignificant? Some dichotomy going on here, this can't be true.
  • What? What happened to all those other ZDNet articles?

    Those claiming XP was history, gone, and insignificant? Some dichotomy going on here, this can't be true.
  • Interesting article, but...

    ...If these corporations are NOT already moving to abandon XP, they are really behind the 8-ball. The expiration of XP has been looming for some time, so in my humble opinion, if these entities are not moving forward by now, they all need new leadership. Why should they be "racing" to get to where they already should be? That is a big problem in corporate America - not easily accepting change - which, in the tech world, moves at lightning pace, while these slow, corporate turtles move at a...well...glacial pace. Time for some new, forward-thinking blood to get them moving - then these horrible leaders may, at some point, start to deserve their obscene salaries/umbrellas.
  • XP

    just die already, Enterprises still running XP need to get up to speed, they are part of the problem not part of the solution.
  • Xp - W7

    I watched various commercial programs run under Xp and again under W7 but I didn't see any significant differences in their operation. I have to imagine that an operating system is the small pain you have to suffer through to get to your business operation but constantly paying for essentially the same thing is a hard sell.
  • Virtual Environments?

    I used to manage the computer systems for a 250 person laboratory many years ago. I started with one Apple II in 1979 which eventually evolved into a VAX VMS environment with a mixed bag of dumb terminals, IBM PC's on DECNET, and x-Window terminals. The whole system was managed by two people, one of whom spent all her time on the dozen or so PC's. The VAX/X-Windows system essentially ran itself. There was never one unplanned downtime instance in 10 years. I remember thinking at the time that X-Windows made so much more sense than Microsoft Windows from the standpoint of simplicity, robustness, and ease of management. I was frankly disappointed to see X-Windows abandoned.

    Now, years later the laboratory is all Windows based PC's with a dozen people running all over the building trying to keep them running. A lot of the PC's use XP and control lab equipment. For many, the OS can't be upgraded until the equipment firmware is upgraded and with some equipment that can't be done unless the equipment is upgraded with a new motherboard, or even replaced. These are $10,000 to $200,000 investments just to move from XP.

    Is the trend toward "virtual environments" and SaaS a rebellion toward the wastefulness of Windows based PC's? Is it coming full circle to the concept of X-Windows where all the desktop does is control the presentation layer?
    • Too much intelligence on the desktop

      "Is it coming full circle to the concept of X-Windows where all the desktop does is control the presentation layer?"

      I hope so. Right now, there is too much intelligence *on* the desktop and too little on the chair in *front* of the desktop.
      James Knox Polk
  • I need to know Microsoft's Future.

    No one can knows what is the Microsoft Future. And Microsoft not tell about his ways/directions.

    I need to know if the future is the ugly Metro or Modern UI and if its posible to remove it in future Windows versions and the return of the Start Menu, Aero Glass and Shadows Copies.

    I need to know if Microsoft continues deprecating Windows Desktop and Desktop PC's to center only on phones and tablets.

    I need to know if the Windows Store is the only way in the future to sell applications.

    I need to know if the future Windows development is only apps. Windows Store apps. Simple apps with big images and fonts that cannot resize or minize.

    I need to know the future of Silverligtht, Win32, .NET, Windows Forms, WPF and all development frameworks/tools.

    I need to know if the Setup & Deployment wizards returns to Visual Studio.

    I need to know if future versions of Exchange continues to be managed on a web browser.

    I need to know what is Microsoft doing now. I need to know what is Microsoft doing now, in what is focused, which addresses are taking and his plans for the future.

    I need to know if Microsoft is only centered now on devices and services, mobiles and tablets and neglecting everything else, that is what it seems.

    I need to know all of this things in order to stay and continue with Microsoft, or change to another platform.