Virtualisation specialist Citrix has unveiled a five-step guide to a seamless Windows 7 migration.
Companies first need to identify their business priorities before transitioning to the Windows 7 platform, according to Yaj Malik, Citrix area vice president for ASEAN.
"Having clarity on the strategic imperatives of the overall organisation allows one to use technology to help meet the business priorities," said Malik. "This exercise should be done jointly with IT decision makers and the representatives of various business units in the organisation."
Then there should be a quick user segmentation exercise to find out users' work habits and requirements. Typical segments include task workers, guest workers and remote workers. This is to identify which user groups can benefit from the new environment fastest.
The next step would be an examination of hardware endpoints within the organisation. The analysis requires looking at all device capabilities, matching them to the requirements of Windows 7, identifying those that need replacement, purchasing new hardware, and installing the corporate-approved operating environment and applications.
Another challenge to address is the validation process to confirm that existing applications can continue to function on the new operating system.
"Organisations should consider investing in application management tools that can help provide information about application portfolios, accurately predicting application behaviour on new technology platforms by automating application testing, compatibility and remediation," said Malik.
For example, Windows 7 would require applications to be compatible with the 32-bit or 64-bit operations for them to work. Applications built on a 16-bit architecture will not work on the new operating system and many business critical legacy applications will no longer run. Additionally, not all organisations can afford the time and/or investment to re-platform these applications.
Finally, the Windows 7 upgrade process can be greatly simplified using desktop virtualisation, which enables organisations to quickly and easily achieve the secure, mobile and cost-efficient environments they require.
"Through desktop virtualisation, IT can create a standardised Windows 7 desktop image, identify and create an optimised profile environment, build the appropriate support resources for the users, and migrate the user data and settings into the new virtualised environment," said Malik. Organisations can also continue to leverage existing investments in current hardware infrastructure.
Windows 7 rollouts are often completed in phases in large organisations, consuming months of IT staff time and creating rolling downtime for users. Desktop and application virtualisation can take an event that would normally create serious downtime and reduce that to a short interruption.
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