Windows Server 2003 migrations are like oil changes for your car. You know you need to do them, and the longer you wait, the more at risk you are.

I know what you’re saying. You’re saying “I know I need to do it. Honestly I do. But I just don’t know where to start and it is such a daunting task.”

Have no fear my friend, follow these simple steps and you will be well on your way to a modernized solution.

Step 1: No app left behind

Over the past 13 years, we have amassed more applications than we could possibly count. And we know some could be incompatible with Server 2012 R2, current versions of Internet Explorer, App-V and more. We are pretty sure we have applications we don’t even know about because they are so old and so obscure that only Milton Waddams and his red stapler still use them.

And yet, we must formulate a plan that answers to the line of business.

Instead of relying on hunches and guesswork, might I suggest a nifty little tool called AppDNA? Simply point AppDNA to your.MSI or EXE binaries, and application libraries and allow its discovery and analytics engine to read the DNA of your apps (marketing genius, no?). Like a well-trained doctor reviewing an MRI, AppDNA will perform a thorough analysis and spit out detailed reports on green apps (compatible with all of your target destinations), red apps (problem child) and amber apps (will work after some tweaks). Like a good doctor, it will also prescribe the medicines to fix it, or refer you to specialists where needed.

AppDNA Report

Now you have a comprehensive project plan and can prioritize which apps can be migrated easiest and which apps will require more effort. Heck, in many cases, simply click the “Fix It” button on AppDNA itself and you may be done with it!

Step 2: Stand up and deliver

Now that you have your app migration project plan in place, it’s time to start the migration process. To minimize impact on your users you could stand up a Windows Server 2012 R2 and then add XenApp 7.6 on top of it. Take the applications that were flagged Green by AppDNA and publish them to your test users. Once your User Acceptance Testing has finished you are ready to deploy the modernized App Delivery to your entire population. With XenApp 7.6 you just go ahead and publish it to more and more users, without having to instantiate it all over again.

In the event you have apps that are stuck in 32-bit land, you could possibly stand up a Windows Server 2008 and limp along until January 14, 2020 when that version meets its extended support date. I look at it like paying off the minimum balance on your credit card every month. Not a great solution, but it could buy you some time.

Step 3: Movin’ on up

Now, what reputable blog in 2015 ends without a reference to the “cloud”? As with any migration or modernization project, the cloud is absolutely your ally to make future migrations easier.

Using Workspace Cloud services, you can shift existing or new workloads to the cloud, transparently to your end-users. Workspace Cloud is designed with the same 25 year Citrix philosophy that customers should have complete choice of platform. Maybe Azure is right for workload A today, but tomorrow you may use Amazon Web for workload B. With Citrix XenApp and Workspace Cloud, you get the freedom of any cloud platform and you can get started today.

Last month I ran an on-demand webinar, which goes into more details. In case you missed it, or want to see it again here is a link.

So, what are you waiting for? Contact your Citrix rep today, for a smooth migration away from the risk of maintaining an obsolete infrastructure. And while you’re at it, get the oil changed in your car.