Windows Client Migration
Measure Twice Migrate Once
I was talking with the owner of a computer services company the other day, and he described an incident where some new servers were delivered to a customer site before he could send his team over to configure, install, and integrate the equipment. The customers called to exclaim, Were UP!!! They had been so excited by the arrival that they decided to open the boxes and fire up the new systems.
They hadnt migrated any data or applications, but they were up.
The service professional then told me that it took his people about twice as much time to undo the original installation and re-deploy it as originally planned. His question: Can he charge the customer for the extra time?
(What do you think about that? Debate the proper approach in our comments!)
There are few things you want to do over less than technology deployments and migrations. The cost of errors is high--not only in dollars and cents, but also in time, effort, and disruption of business operations. There are plenty of axioms to apply here, like the title of this post, or an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but at the end of the day, it is simply best practice to perform a comprehensive assessment of any environment you plan to change before you make any changes.
In their white paper Cost-Planning for a Windows 7 Migration, the good folks at Dell outline the hardware challenges customers faced when migrating to Windows 7. Most computers had to be upgraded or replaced to accommodate the requirements of the new version, including advanced display features, memory, and processor specifications. The Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) tool addresses this issue by offering a Hardware Inventory Proposal, which identifies the appropriate configurations for systems compatible with the intended OS version.
Of course, it is also important to assess any printers or other peripherals to assure that proper drivers are available and the new OS will be supported.
The Dell paper also points out the importance of assessing the applications running in the current environment to make sure they will run properly in the intended future state. Dell ProConsult offers application migration services that include compatibility assessment, remediation, and expert packaging. MAP provides lists of applications discovered on target systems. Many other third-party tools are available that will assess the requirements of installed applications and compare them against the compatibility requirements of new operating systems and platforms.
Business, Budget, and Environment
Often bypassed or forgotten in the rush to upgrade are the business, budget, and environmental considerations. Dell ties these together to include the costs of hardware, software, and services as well as comparative budgeting for the initial purchases and the ongoing operating expenses that will be incurred over the life of the system. In short, you should perform a total cost of ownership analysis prior to any migration.
A recent post on the Citrix Blog describes its Desktop Transformation Model as having three stages: Assess, Design, Deploy. In the Assess phase, the company recommends identifying business priorities, establishing the desired time to value, and developing a roadmap. The post offers a business survey designed to help pinpoint business priorities for Windows 7 migrations.
In the time to value phase, Citrix recommends gathering information in the context of user segmentation, endpoint hardware assessment, and application management.
The project roadmap that results from this work is crucial to the success of any Windows 7 migration.
And heres one last axiom that you dont want to encounter in the context of OS migrations: Theres never time to do it right, but theres always time to do it over.