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Bit9 May Help Vista Deployment

One of the biggest obstacles that has blocked widespread acceptance of Windows Vista is the question of its compatibility with existing applications. With most IT admins too busy for compatibility testing of all their apps, it has given them one more reason to shove the beleaguered OS off to the side. In fact, market researcher Gartner Inc. has stated in recent reports that it usually takes enterprises 12 to 18 months to properly qualify an app before full deployment in a production environment.

For those adventurous admins who want to deploy Vista but can't afford that kind of time, there might be a solution.

Bit9 Inc., a small Cambridge, Mass.-based company, claims to have produced a software service that can significantly reduce the time of rolling out a Vista-compatible product. In a nutshell, it's a new component to the company's ParityCenter online service that adds Vista-compatible metadata to Bit9's Global Software Registry (a database listing some 6 billion records already proved safe to run in an enterprise). By taking advantage of this information, admins can much more quickly see their existing application stack to determine which apps will or will not operate with Vista.

"People hoping to upgrade to Vista are going to need a lot of careful planning to maintain application compatibility. Adding [Vista-compatible] metadata, we think, will make for a more manageable environment," says Doug Cahill, Bit9's vice president of corporate management.

Some IT shops like the idea behind Bit9's new technology, but need to see how it might address their specific set of network-based apps.

"We've been considering Vista for some, but not all, of the apps in our network. We have some pretty old and/or vertical applications we'd like to bring in [to work with Vista]. This product looks promising, but we need to see just how Vista-compatible it can make our stuff," says Ned Blackwell, director of engineering for a Chicago-based transportation company.

Bit9 has been around for a while, specializing in enterprise-level application whitelisting, which serves to blunt the risk posed by malicious or otherwise illegal software trying to infiltrate a corporate environment. The new component to ParityCenter will work in concert with Bit9's whitelisting products.

Find more information about Bit9 products at www.bit9.com.

About the Author

Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.

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