Using Glassware 2.0™ in Microsoft Azure to extend the life of your Windows XP Applications

Almost 2 years have passed since the end of support for Windows XP, yet according to Netmarketshare, at least 1 in 10 PCs are still running on XP as of February 2016. What’s more, after a precipitous drop in market share in early 2015, Windows XP has hovered between 11-12% for the last 8 months. I find this astonishing when you consider the launch of Windows 10, and the significant marketing push to move users to the new Windows platform. We found a Microsoft blog post last year [see post here], where they claim that 1.5 billion people used Windows everyday globally. This would mean that the 11 to 12% market share for Windows XP represents tens of millions of PCs!

So what have users been doing with their Windows XP applications? We saw a bunch of enterprise applications move to Windows Server 2003 R2 between 2013 and 2014 in preparation of the XP support end date. Windows Server 2003 R2 is essentially Windows XP Server, and while the Windows XP end of support date was April 8, 2014, the July 14, 2015 end of support for Server 2003 R2 gave organizations a little more time.

The idea was to move XP applications into the data center and use Remote Desktop Services (RDS) to deliver the applications. Of course, this only worked if the application was capable of running with terminal server (TS). Alternatively, some organizations loaded Windows Server 2003 R2 on their local machines to run their XP applications. However this required them to purchase a Server license for each workstation…Ouch!  

But what if the Windows XP application just won’t work on Server 2003 R2; or has to run on its own workstation or does not play nice with TS? And what are your options now that Server 2003 R2 is also no longer supported?

If you ran out of time to remove Windows XP from your organization, don’t panic! You now have a new option that is available from Microsoft Azure, or as a hybrid deployment, and can tackle XP applications; including those that are not friendly to TS. By using a G-Series Cloud Glassware 2.0 container image, available in Microsoft Azure Marketplace, a G-Series on premise Glassware 2.0 Appliance available from our channel partners, or a combination of both, you can quickly redeploy your XP apps and use all the security inherent in Azure to protect your organization. In addition, since Glassware 2.0 does NOT run the full OS but instead only the kernel from XP, any malware designed to exploit the XP desktop OS is rendered completely useless…we call this ending “end of life”; sorry hackers.

We decided to put up a special set of videos to show approximately 20 XP applications we migrated to Glassware 2.0 on Azure. Many XP apps can be provisioned as easily as installing them on a local PC or workstation; Others need simple packaging you can do yourself. For example when installing Microsoft Office for XP we put the software in a self-extracting format so we could pull in multiple applications in one session (if you even know what Windows Server 2003 R2 is, then this is a cakewalk for you). You will quickly see how easy it is to move these applications to modern infrastructure, but if you have stubborn applications or don’t want to tackle this on your own, we can introduce you to one of our certified partners to give you a hand.

Spoiler alert – These videos demonstrate the real-time containerization of the apps so there may be some boring or slow parts; waiting for the applications to go through their native installation and extraction type stuff. Sorry for that, but we thought it best that you actually watch without the marketing “lapsed time” jazz. You can check out these videos here.

The bottom line is that Millions of PCs are running XP, many of which are business applications since that was the market that XP successfully dominated in its heyday.  In addition, we believe there are millions more that do not surf the web and as such are likely not included in the netmarketshare statistics. If you are one of those organizations that still rely on these Windows XP applications and wish to extend its life, go to the G-Series Cloud in the Azure Marketplace here and give it a try, or reach out to one of our gifted Glassware 2.0 support folks at this link to give you a hand.