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Microsoft Silverlight End-of-Support – Ten Steps to Take Now!

Chintan Rami May 31, 2021
The planned date of October 12, 2021 for Microsoft Silverlight End-of-Support is rapidly approaching. Use Aternity Digital Experience Management to identify applications in your environment which may require migration to an alternate technology.

Microsoft SilverlightThe planned date of October 12, 2021 for Microsoft Silverlight End-of-Support is rapidly approaching. This isn’t new news. It was originally discussed in a Microsoft blog on moving to HTML 5 premium media in July 2015. Currently, the only browsers that continue to run Silverlight are Internet Explorer (IE) 10 and 11.

Enterprises relying on the Silverlight application framework designed for writing and running rich web applications focused on streaming media, multimedia graphics, and animation should carefully review the FAQs on the announcement page, in which Microsoft addresses some key issues.

  • As of October 12, 2021, Silverlight will be in an unsupported state and will not receive any future quality or security updates.
  • The Silverlight installer will no longer be available after the end of support date, but Silverlight applications will continue to work.
  • As long as customers comply with the terms of the perpetual Silverlight license, they can continue to run their applications, even though support is no longer available.
  • Microsoft provides a set of options for migrating applications, based on whether or not the application is web-based.

The Challenge of Identifying Your Silverlight-dependent Applications

I have been in Professional Services Consulting position for more than twelve years out of total fifteen years of my IT career. In my current role, I focus on Aternity Digital Experience Management, but I’ve worked on a variety of enterprise monitoring domains, including infrastructure, applications, network, storage, and virtual infrastructure. I have seen companies continue to rely on old technologies not by choice, but because of complexity and the coupling with other systems and technology in the backend which complicates migration to newer technologies. Moreover, finding every bit of information from old source code embedded into application becomes nearly impossible.

Many companies used Silverlight to build line-of-business applications with better features and performance than HTML/JavaScript applications of the time. Now the time has come to identify those applications and prepare for migration.

Using Aternity to Identify At-risk Applications

One of our customers reached out to our team for assistance on addressing the potential business disruption due to Silverlight End-of-Support. One of the “Big Four” banks in Australia asked whether Aternity could help them identify which of their web applications were using embedded Silverlight components.

Aternity’s answer is yes! Aternity provides insight into the key device and application performance and health metrics on which employees depend. Aternity provide a wide range of device and application telemetry out of the box, but custom activities can also be created to gather additional insights. I developed a custom signature solution that exposes websites relying on Embedded Silverlight Components (XAP) to render content on any website accessed over IE.

Aternity customers can deploy the custom signature from www.github.com or customer success within minutes and rapidly see which websites your employees are accessing that have Silverlight content detected on them!

The solution will provide information to surface on which applications a specific page contains Silverlight component.

Taking Action on Silverlight End of Support

Our customer was amazed by looking at the data started to show up in Aternity within matter of few hours as users started accessing those applications in IE browser. The next step for them was to find the application owners to start looking into moving away from those pages to new HTML5 or other similar newer technologies. Many other customers are likely in the same situation, and therefore must act in the next four to five months to resolve their situations.

The dashboard below shows an inventory of Silverlight-dependent websites or web Pages, by volume and host name. along with usernames and volume (the amount of times Silverlight content was detected on a particular server/website).

Microsoft Silverlight End-of-Support
A top 4 Australian bank used Aternity to identify websites and web pages depending on Microsoft Silverlight.

Ten Steps to Mitigate the Risk of Silverlight End-of-Support 

Based on Aternity’s capabilities, here are ten steps companies can take to mitigate the risk of Microsoft Silverlight End-of-Support.

  1. Discovery: Use Aternity to identify the web applications using Silverlight in your environment.
  2. Usage: Use Aternity to validate the number of employees who rely on those applications. Prioritize high usage apps first.
  3. Impact on the business: Use Aternity to identify which departments and line of business are dependent on Silverlight and respective usage profiles.
  4. Application details: Use Aternity to identify the concise “activity” or business process that is dependent on Silverlight. Prioritize those processes that have the highest impact on the business.
  5. Prioritize remediation efforts: IT engages with the respective business teams to prioritize efforts for the most important applications and business processes.
  6. Engage Application Owners: Connect with app owners to identify alternative options to Silverlight for the apps they own.
  7. Implement the alternative technologies: App owners and dev teams adopt HTML5, WebGL, or WebAssembly.
  8. Validate the impact of the change: Compare user experience on a pilot group of users to ensure user experience is as good or better than before. Watch the short video below to see Aternity in action.
  9. Deploy resolution to production: Validate the change in production.
  10. A ‘just in case’: Prepare a segregated, isolated area of your infrastructure that will not update IE browser or Silverlight in the event your organisation still has requirements to access legacy web applications dependent on Silverlight. As this option poses a security risk, isolating the environment prevents it from being exposed to future vulnerabilities given IE and Silverlight will not be updated so that the browsers can continue to render Silverlight successfully.

Ready to get started with Aternity?

October 12th is just around the corner! If you’re a current Aternity customer, contact your Aternity account team to learn more about how you can get a quick step ahead of the competition and deal with the upcoming Microsoft Silverlight end-of-support.

Aternity Free TrialIf you’re not yet an Aternity customer, you can explore these capabilities by registering for a free trial of Aternity running in your environment. You’ll see how your organization compares to the market with the benchmarking insights from millions of end points monitored in via Aternity SaaS. You’ll see how your Service Desk can drive down costs and improve service with AI-driven automated remediation. And you’ll get a view of employee experience for every app running in your environment – even SaaS and Shadow IT.

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