Cloudhouse Executive Chairman Gavin Chapman gives his perspective on ESUs and why transplanting existing applications to new systems is the best way forward
As our Founder and CEO Mat Clothier covered in his recent blog on the subject, Microsoft Extended Security Updates (ESUs) are a very expensive solution of last resort to make sure organisations have the latest security updates in place for their business. Following this path also means that companies miss out on business support.
Unfortunately, many businesses find themselves in the position of thinking they have no other choice but to pay for ESUs, and much of the reason for this has stemmed from professionals not having time to assess what to do with their applications early enough. This certainly wasn’t helped by the short-termism that was forced on so many businesses with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some may assume that key applications will simply be retired, but this increasingly hasn’t been the case, and for many they’re actually continuing to provide great core functionality long into their existence.
Digital transformation doesn’t automatically equate to technology replacement
To continue utilising that functionality, ESUs have provided a costly short term fix, but the other avenue of replacing a reliable application for a move away to a new system to avoid ESUs can also be a fraught process. A mistake that we see companies frequently make is placing too much focus on the cost of a technical upgrade associated with replacing an app and not considering the expense required to train staff to then use it effectively.
This is again a mindset that has been commonly associated with digital transformation, where organisations feel that they need to replace their current applications to truly move forward with their strategies, which isn’t always the best course of action. This has also been compounded by the lack of awareness among customers that there is another solution out there that’s more efficient, cost-effective, quicker and lower risk.
Transplanting existing applications
The first step for businesses looking to move away from ESUs is identifying which applications are continuing to provide value and earmarking them for a shift to the new world. Doing this as soon as possible is a vital jumping-off point when it comes to avoiding ESUs. This applies to both the ESUs that are currently in place for end-of-life operating systems such as Windows Server 2008 and for upcoming end-of-life dates for editions such as Windows Server 2012 in October 2023.
Transplanting the existing application into the new world and updating any necessary elements or interfaces ensure it is easy-to-use for users is the key to cost-effectively avoiding the numerous issues of remaining with ESUs and the cost, time, risk and training issues associated with fully replacing apps. This enables benefits such as a lower cost of operation, new security updates and running on a faster infrastructure.
The way to think of it is by comparing the work associated with renovating an old existing house that is mainly fit for purpose but needs fixing up to knocking it down and building a new one. Of course, there can be good value gained from building a new one in the long-term, but it may prove to be much more cost-effective and less risky to improve the old house that is fit-for-purpose today.
Utilising Cloudhouse solutions
There are two low-risk Cloudhouse solutions that enable businesses to escape the clutches of costly ESUs and shift existing applications to a new operating system. Cloudhouse Guardian provides businesses the visibility of what they have in their IT setup that may be out-of-date or non-compliant and helps them achieve compliance. Our application compatibility service Alchemy, then effectively takes applications from old platforms and integrates them into the latest Citrix and Microsoft platforms.
In reality, the issues caused by remaining on ESUs are just the tip of the iceberg. Failing to move applications into the new world can be problematic in terms of cyber-attack risk and the losses that businesses could face as result. At Cloudhouse, we would encourage businesses to analyse in detail their application portfolio to help avoid any risks later on down the line. Rather than applying the ESU plaster, our solutions are evergreen, enabling businesses to fix any issues quickly and for good.
Remove the need for costly ESUs and avoid the next payment in January 2022. Take a look at our whitepaper for more: https://cloudhouse.com/esu-jan-2022/
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Cloudhouse costs are split into two elements – the licensing required to deploy application compatibility packages, and the professional services needed to create the application compatibility packages.
Licensing is offered on a per user basis for desktop applications and a per server basis for server applications. There are discounts available based on volumes.
Professional Services costs are dependent on the nature and complexity of the application. We quote a cost for packaging once we have been able to see the application, or portfolio of applications.
Contact us here with your requirements and we will provide you with a quote.
Packaging and Maintaining Applications
Cloudhouse provide the Professional Services to package applications.
Cloudhouse recommend packaged applications are tested in the standard UAT environments used for natively installed applications, or applications packaged in App-V. The more representative the test environment is of the live environment, the greater the chance of finding any issues prior to go-live.
Service packs and updates can be applied to the applications in a package using the Editor, refer to Updating, Editing and Maintaining Containers which describes how a new snapshot is created for the update, and how it is then applied to the package.
Cloudhouse recommends the same team who manage the operations of native apps.
Applications running in Application Compatibility Packages can be deployed, and managed with same tools, or scripts used to deploy natively installed applications e.g. SCCM, InTune, LAN Desk. Please refer to Supported 3rd Party Products and Versions for details.
The Cloudhouse Package does not include OS components, it only contains the packaged application plus Cloudhouse components. Cloudhouse recommend the same team that is responsible for supporting applications packaged with App-V, or delivered as natively installed applications, support Cloudhouse Application Compatibility Containers.
Full documentation is made available to Cloudhouse partners and customers as required.
Cloudhouse offers a full packaging service that can scale to meet any requirement. In the event, however, that a partner wishes to offer application compatibility packaging as part of a wider solution, Cloudhouse will work with that partner. Please contact us here for details.