Since its release in 2009, Microsoft Windows 7 has been a desirable desktop upgrade because of its ability to enhance performance, security and manageability. And with desktop virtualization technology reaching maturity, it may make sense for organizations to combine the two projects.

The idea of having to “nuke and pave”, wiping out XP installations and starting from scratch with a clean installation of Windows 7, has many IT managers wary of the process. With the window (literally) closing rapidly on XP support in 2014, more and more companies are looking at desktop virtualization as a better way forward. And this combination of technologies is emerging as a “perfect storm” that can benefit business users, IT, and the bottom line.

Companies who want to take advantage of this perfect storm are well underway on their migration path to Windows 7 with the help of solutions like Citrix XenDesktop. By using XenDesktop to virtualize both applications and desktops, and deliver them to users on demand, you can enable a rapid, smooth Windows 7 rollout. It also allows you to leveraging existing investments in desktop infrastructure and ensuring that all user data, settings, and critical information is managed and backed up in real-time. Especially if application compatibility testing shows critical line of business applications are not good candidates for Windows 7 migration, XenDesktop can help deliver the application to end users without disruption.

To be successful, the virtualization of the desktop must be done correctly and it must be flexible enough to meet the needs of your user community, and this process requires:

  • A proper analysis of the current environment focusing on user segmentation, application inventory and end-point topology
  • An end-to-end conceptual design before the actual migration can begin so users are only migrated to the virtualized environment a single time
  • A phased migration approach that moves the user’s application settings and data with as small of an impact on the users as possible

The forecast is that when the storm finally hits, it will be those organizations that have fully prepared for the impact of Windows 7 with thorough assessment, design and implementation practices will be best placed to take advantage of the new technology. And Citrix helps with each of these stages: assessment through the Citrix AppDNA application management platform, design with education and consulting, and implementation with the help of Citrix Ready Partners.

We, here at Citrix, have been helping companies make a successful transition to a virtual Windows 7 desktop environment. And over the coming weeks I will be sharing these migration best practices. For now, check out this cool video on how you can accelerate Windows 7 migration with desktop virtualization.