I have been fielding several questions on application packaging over the past few weeks and they have merged into several central themes. These themes cover the following areas and interests relating application packaging and in particular, application packaging.
These basic questions on modern application management include:
- Software Hygiene and Version Control
- Application Packaging Modernization
- Automated Packaging and Self-Service optionality
- Enhanced Application Test Automation and Reporting
- Enhanced Application Deployment Reporting and Remediation
- Reporting and Management of un-packaged / non-compliant software installations
- End of Life Software Management and Reporting
To document and then to share some of these questions and challenges, I have put my thinking into several blog posts
Here is the first one.
Software Hygiene and Version Control
Software hygiene and version control, ensuring out of date products are removed completely from the environment including end user computers.
Software hygiene, like corporate hygiene is a challenge of constant vigilance. One of the most aspects of this challenge is to ensure that your application management (packaging) process delivers up to date applications including their components and dependencies. Most migrations challenges in modern desktop platforms relate to managing out-of-date components (JAVA, .NET, ODBC drivers). It’s not just the applications that need to be addressed but their middleware, the system level components, and commonly updated Windows features. In response to this common challenge Readiness has developed and fully integrated the following assessment checks into the application management process:
- Common dependency analysis (.Net, JAVA, SQL, Oracle)
- Middleware checks (e.g., Crystal Reports)
- Out-dated components check (MFC and Visual C+/# runtime libraries)
Running these checks and then automatically remediating the results is just one step in delivering a fully up-to-date and compliant application portfolio. Keeping applications updated and patched is a primary challenge for mid-life applications. One that is particularly time-consuming in modern desktop platforms due to the rapid application update cadence. With monthly updates for “common off the shelf applications” (COTS) and sometimes weekly updates from line-of-business (LOB) applications simply deploying application packages is not enough.
As demonstrated by Microsoft with their monthly Patch Tuesday updates, the most updated Windows feature is the AppManagement feature – with an almost complete focus on application uninstallation(s). These factors combine to require a technical and logistical imperative for “clean” application uninstalls. This means that that the application uninstallation process must:
- remove all application binaries and settings
- maintain system integrity for all system files and settings
- management user data and profile settings
- manage Windows component reference and dependency data
Readiness has fully addressed these multi-faceted challenges with a packaging process that includes:
- Out-dated dependency analysis
- Complete uninstallation analysis (left behind files, settings)
- Automated uninstallation and update testing
These “end-of-life” checks and processes ensure that Readiness delivers applications packages that successfully install, update, self-repair and cleanly uninstall. On today’s desktop and tomorrow’s platforms.