Today’s post is brought to you by Shane O’Neill & Citrix CTP Paul Stansel

Migrations are a fact of life for any IT systems administrator. For Citrix admins, it’s certainly no different.

Maybe you are replacing hardware. Maybe you are upgrading your infrastructure. Or maybe you are handling some M&A activity with 5,000 users that have to be moved by Friday or you’re all fired!

Regardless of the reason, at some stage you will find yourself required to migrate your VDI population between infrastructures. The larger the population, the more complex the process can become. Without proper planning and understanding of the potential pitfalls you can easily find yourself deep in a hole … many months down the road on a migration project and with no end in sight.

Sometimes a migration can be as easy as removing a VDI from one XenDesktop farm and adding it to another. More often than not though, it is not as straight forward as this. There are many different components that tie in to your XenDesktop environment. How are all of these going to be impacted by your migration? Do they require changes to be able to support the VDI from its new location? More importantly, can they even interact with the new XenDesktop farm?

If you are planning to upgrade the VDA as part of your migration then you need to ensure that you adequately plan that upgrade process and where possible, perform the upgrade before you migrate to the new farm. If you are changing XenDesktop versions, you should closely review the policy settings in the new farm for any new policies that you may need to implement. It could also be the case that a policy that you have set on your old farm is no longer available in the new farm. Remember XenDesktop policies are not exportable between Sites because they contain Site specific information.

The VDA and the XenDesktop policies are just some of the considerations that you need to take in to account. It is also very important that you address the underlying hypervisor tools, your Storefront environment and even infrastructure like Citrix Director should be addressed. Ensuring proper preparation by reviewing and addressing these other components where required will ensure that you are ready for the main event: migration!

When it comes to the process of the migration itself, whether you are working with 20 or 20,000 VDI the same 5 steps process should apply to every VDI. Validate, Prepare, Remove, Add and Confirm.

Following the requirements for each of these steps will greatly increase your migration success rate. We know this can be time-consuming and this is where automation comes in to play. By taking advantage of the XenDesktop SDK and some coding skills, we can make this entire process run end to end with the simple click of a button. This automation allows us to migrate large batches of several hundred VDI in one go.

Join me and Paul at Citrix Synergy in Las Vegas for session SYN326 where we will share our experiences performing these large scale migrations along with tips on processes, procedures and even automation code, things to absolutely avoid, and free tools that will ensure your migration is successful no matter what the size.

Shane O’Neill is a Senior Engineer with Aetna, where he is responsible for a large Citrix environment consisting of over 35,000 VDI and 700 XenApp servers. He has experience in developing automation solutions for virtual environments using PowerShell and C#. He is a previous Synergy speaker, holds CCE-V certification and is a regular contributor on the blog. Follow him on Twitter at @sasponto.

Paul Stansel is an 18-year veteran of virtualization technologies who has installed every version of Citrix server virtualization since WinFrame. He has designed, implemented, and supported Citrix environments for multiple Fortune 100 companies. Paul is currently a Principal Consultant for Presidio in the Tri State region. He has been a speaker at Citrix Synergy and PremierCIO and, in his spare time, is a contributor at Paul was named as a CTP in 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @pstansel.

Citrix invited the authors of this post to present at Citrix Synergy 2016 and to participate in a related contest. The author received an entry into the contest for submitting this blog post.

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