Windows 7 looks great

Like it or not, Windows 7 will be here soon. I am a new user of Windows 7 and it looks great! Definitely faster! I think that the adoption rate will far outpace not just Vista (of course) but also Windows XP. So chances are pretty good that there will be a rollout in your organization in the next 12 months.

But,…

Unfortunately, a migration could be disruptive, time consuming and can bust your budget.

Windows 7 represents a significant change as compared to XP. Apps that ran on XP may not run natively on Win7 without upgrading. The XP emulation feature on Win7 – the jury’s still out on that. So, no matter what, you are likely going to have to spend a lot of time to test all of your applications in XP emulation or go buy upgrades to some of the apps and then do compatibility testing to ensure everything interacts the way it did in XP. In addition to spending 100’s or even 1000’s of dollars per user on these license upgrades, even a medium sized organization could spend millions on testing/integration/project management/installation.

Then, of course, there may be the cost of buying new PCs for the upgrade. If you have the luxury of time, you can just wait until the next refresh and ensure you get Win7 for some of your users. With this approach, you will have spent a chunk of money on planning Win7 app upgrades to just the first 20-25% of your user base and you will still be stuck with supporting PC desktops along with two OS platforms for years to come.

Finally, you need to manage somehow getting Windows 7 physically rolled out on all the end points that you manage. If you are lucky, they are all sitting in a single room – but for most of you this means end points everywhere. Also, since you did your last migration to Windows XP, you now have users that you didn’t have in your previous migration – contractors, offshore, partners, you name it – you likely have it.

Time to think of the right plan

Can desktop virtualization help you with Win7 migration? Yes! In a big way: make it non-disruptive and will help you lower your costs.

  1. You can migrate to Windows 7 by installing it once in the datacenter without touching every end point.
  2. You don’t need to refresh the hardware. Repurposing old PCs into thin clients can get you started quickly.
  3. Any application conflicts can be managed via app virtualization technology, which should be a key component of any virtual desktop project. App virtualization makes desktops so much easier to manage than dealing with multiple desktop images spread on multiple end points.

Once you have established a golden OS image with Win7, desktop virtualization will deliver Win7 to your old PCs essentially overnight.

The key is to leverage the right delivery technology for different end point devices. By judiciously applying OS streaming technology, you can leverage the local processing power in newer PCs and reduce the investment in data center infrastructure. This has a significant impact on the overall per user cost of the solution. Now, you will be able to get started with desktop virtualization by using the budget you have allocated for PC replacement and start reducing desktop management costs from that point on.

7 STEPS TO WIN 7
  1. KICK-OFF A PILOT FOR HOSTED VIRTUAL DESKTOPS TODAY – Kick off a pilot for virtual desktops today in order to experience the different in management and user experience. This gets you started.
  2. SEGMENT YOUR USERS & EXPAND VIRTUAL DESKTOPS – Pick the right kind of virtual desktop for all your enterprise users. Expand your pilot to other office workers, remote workers and guest workers.
  3. INVENTORY & VIRTUALIZE YOUR APPS – Inventory all the apps that you have and identify the ones that get updated the most or will have compatibility problems with Windows 7. Virtualize these apps within your virtual desktop pilot. Ether host the apps on dedicated servers if they are big, chunky LOB apps or stream them into the image (isolated) if they are productivity apps.
  4. PREPARE CLEAN & PRISTINE WINDOWS 7 IMAGE – Prepare the OS image that you plan to roll-out with Windows 7. Ensure that you only have one clean & pristine image for all your users – virtualize all other applications and separate them from your OS. Centrally update your virtual desktops to Windows 7 for instant experience for all.
  5. ROLL OUT WINDOWS 7 WITH VIRTUAL DESKTOPS FOR ALL ONLINE USERS – use a combination of delivery technoloies for getting the best ROI and levreage of your existing PC refresh budgets and cycles.
  6. ADOPT OFFLINE VIRTUAL DESKTOPS – Once you are done with your online users, it will be time to expand llocal virtual desktops for your offline users. This is where you are using a technology such as XenClient to implement offline virtual desktops.
  7. GET OUT OF MANAGEMENT OF END POINTS – This is where you transfer the responsibility of managing the end points entirely out of IT; and give it to other groups. It could be facilities. Or, it could be the employees themselves – helping you implement a BYOC program.

Follow this process and be a hero – lead the migration without disruptions for a change! And, you will never need to worry about the disruption and costs of another OS upgrade!

It will be hard to argue that there will be a migration process that is simpler and less disruptive. So, our conversation should shift to evaluating the technology landscape – which technology can help you with this migration best. Of course – my advice would be – XenDesktop

We will be talking more about this and more in our big desktop virtualization show – there will be thousands attending the online event – Secrets, Lies and VDI

Finally, join others who are going through Windows 7 migration with desktop virtualization