Microsoft has recently come out with two key announcements that may drastically affect companies relying on mainframe applications. Yours might be one of them, in which case we hope that this article helps you prepare for challenges ahead…
The end of Internet Explorer and Java applets.
Microsoft has announced the official « death » of Internet Explorer after more than 25 years of service. We all remember Microsoft vaguely threatening companies to hurry up and move to newer modern web browsers, preferably their own Microsoft Edge.
However, this time they have actual dates to back up this threat, which makes it more real. On August 17th 2021, Microsoft 365 and other Microsoft apps will stop support for IE 11 and on June 15th 2022, the IE 11 desktop application will be retired forever.
For the average company, this news may not be so threatening to their day-to-day operations. After all, many have long abandoned IE. Even for those who haven’t, Microsoft Edge offers an « IE mode ». This mode is a temporary solution that will allow companies to extend the life of their legacy websites and apps.
However, for some companies relying on mainframe applications, this announcement may complicate things. Indeed, Internet Explorer 11 was the last browser supporting Java applets which are critical for the use of certain TN3270 emulators.
Even though the IE mode can temporarily replace Internet Explorer, it may do so at the cost of performance.
Moreover, many companies may choose to pressure their mainframe teams to stop using Internet Explorer as soon as possible.
The announcement of Windows 11 and the end of Windows 10
Eleven seems to be a recurring number in Microsoft announcements lately. Despite a failed launch reveal in June, Microsoft managed to announce the next version of their OS: Windows 11.
Yes, even though Microsoft did say that Windows 10 would be the last OS they would work on, Windows 11 should be available by the end of 2021.
This new OS will be a free upgrade to all Windows 10 users, as long as they meet the minimum PC system requirements (8th Gen CPU and up). This major Windows update brings more security and performance which should delight the average user.
Unfortunately, this spells even more trouble for mainframe users. Indeed, most are aware of the headache that comes with OS changes. Some terminal emulators cannot function properly after OS updates, let alone a whole new one.
Some of you can remember the launch of Windows 10 a few years ago! Significant efforts are required to ensure compatibility, which is why some companies even choose not to update their OS at all, despite the risks.
How to prepare for the end of Internet Explorer 11 and the arrival of Windows 11
As the saying goes: « By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail ». If any of those Microsoft announcements sound like trouble for your company, you should be proactively searching for a solution now.
Ideally, you would want to switch to an emulator that does not rely on java applets and is immune to OS changes. Fortunately, there is one type of terminal emulator that meets both these criteria: a thin-client emulator such as Virtel.
What makes the thin-client emulator exempt from java applets and OS changes is the fact that it can be accessed through any modern web browser (which have all dropped java applet support) through a URL.
Not only does a thin-client emulator help you survive the death of IE 11 and the arrival of Windows 11, it also provides many other benefits such as lowered TCO, more security, easier deployment/support, and flexibility (BYOD).