The migration to the new operating system was a challenge. We had a mass of people going to each user’s desktop to copy their data and rebuild the operating system. We thought we planned appropriately but ran into all sorts of issues like:
- We didn’t have the correct hardware drivers for some of the computers, which required searching the Internet and oftentimes using try and error until we found the right driver. There were too many occasions where we were unable to find a driver for the new operating system. We just hoped the user wouldn’t notice.
- We sometimes found out that not all of the hardware was compatible with the new operating system so we had to quickly find a new computers for some of our users.
- During the application install, we often came to realize that some of the applications were incompatible. Once we figured out how to get the application installed, we thought the mission was accomplished and moved onto the next user. This took about an entire day to complete for 1-2 users.
- We thought we finished with the user but because this was a new interface for the user and a new way of doing things the user ran into many issues. Many of their settings were gone and so were their icons. So while we continued to migrate more users, we had to backtrack and help teach the users.
- When the next upgrade comes along, I’m going to take a sabbatical.
This is not an example of a migration to Windows 7. This is an example from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. The same could be said for migrations from Windows 98 to Windows 2000 or from Windows 2000 to Windows XP.
Guess what? Migration season has arrived again.
By all accounts, 2010-2011 will be the time when many organizations investigate how to move all of their users to the new Windows 7 operating system. We have to ask ourselves if we plan to follow history and repeat our steps, or will we try to do something different so the migration isn’t as painful and long. Let the past be our guide. We know what challenges we will encounter, so let us solve them before they hit again:
- Hardware: Desktop virtualization and Citrix FlexCast can solve these challenges because the virtual desktop is either hosted on a hypervisor (thus having the same configuration) or delivered to the newer generation of desktops via a local streamed desktop. The images are pre-built and implemented in a matter of seconds instead of hours.
- Applications: We aren’t limited with local installed applications on the desktop operating system. We can install, stream or host the applications. And in the rare event that these three options are not enough, we can use VM Hosted Applications on an older operating system. The point is that from the user’s perspective, the applications operate seamlessly.
- Personalization: We want to save the critical user data while discarding the irrelevant. With personalization solutions, we can help ease the user’s transition to Windows 7 by migrating portions of the personal environment.
- Support: Once the migration is complete, users will have questions and issues. We need to see what the user sees. We need to detect issues before they impact the users.
We know we will migrate, but the question is how will we migrate to Windows 7. We already know the challenges we will face by doing the manual, physical migration. We know that desktop virtualization can solve these challenges. So let’s investigate desktop virtualization further by attending a one hour Ask the Architect TechTalk on Windows 7 Migration.
Remember, the distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success. So if you want to be a genius, you need to know how to effectively create a desktop virtualization solution that can ease your Windows 7 migration.
Lead Architect – Worldwide Consulting Solutions
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