OS migration is part of the life of IT services. You must already know this, but there are only 5 years left before the extended support for Windows 8.1 ends, the date is getting closer and closer! As for the Windows 7 operating system, standard support is no longer provided since January 2015 and monthly updates will cease on January 14, 2020. The problem is that migration projects often consume a lot of human resources but also costs (acquisition of software, need to recruit, production stoppage, etc). Together we will see the best way to manage your OS migration project.
What to do before migrating your IT assets
The migration of a computer park is very often long and complex. Several steps are necessary before migrating from OS. Here are some key steps to carry out before the project.
Step 1: Conduct an inventory of installed software and deployed hardware
Indeed, this step can prevent you from disaster: software incompatible with the new operating system.
If we realize that some software is incompatible, we can find solutions in order to :
- Find a replacement program;
- Or consider emulating the old OS to make them work.
In all cases, doing this inventory will prevent users from being blocked and frustrated after the migration.
It will also be necessary to carry out an inventory of the computer equipment, the necessary storage capacity can vary from one OS to another, RAM is also to be taken into account.
Did you know that? ceBox® solution allows to propose a test on a pilot population before generalizing the production. Once the master is validated, migration can be generalized. In case of incompatibility, you can go back in one click for all your workstations!
Step 2: Perform a data backup
Backing up your data is imperative, and to do so, you will have to choose your storage mode. There are many solutions, cloud, NAS, file servers,… It’s up to you to choose the solution adapted to your needs and your organization.
Of course, if your users’ data is already backed up on remote storage, this step will be greatly simplified. Moreover, this practice is widely acclaimed in the context of data continuity and security.
Nevertheless we all know that users are used to save documents locally on their workstations, so it remains essential to ensure that all data will be backed up, again to avoid user frustration.
Step 3: Prepare the deployment of the new OS
Testing the software on a computer is highly recommended. Some software may not be compatible with the new OS. If software is found to be incompatible, it will be easier to correct the problem before migrating.
Now, you can prepare the migration, this step depends on the solution you use on your entire computer park.
- Use of a Ghost image: This type of solution is no longer presented. They make it possible to prepare an “image” of the workstations, i.e. the OS and the applications then to deploy them via the network.
- Virtualization: If you have made the choice to virtualize your desktops, the task is even easier. A bit like Ghost images, you just need to prepare the image of the workstations to finally be able to deploy it on the migration day.
- SCCM : Microsoft integrates its own image deployment solution into its SCCM : MDT service. The principle is the same as with a Ghost image, but allows more flexibility if your workstations are on a Windows OS.
Of course, if you want to migrate the stations “by hand”, i.e. by passing station by station to reinstall the new OS, you don’t have much to prepare but be very patient and prepare a large amount of coffee for your teams…
Generally an OS migration is planned several months or even several years in advance. There is a good chance that it will lead to a halt in production. You will therefore have to warn all users well in advance in order to prepare them.
You will also need to provide for a go back procedure, this is an ITIL recommendation. If the migration does not go as planned, production still has to go back quickly. Desktop virtualization is very suitable for this type of problem, but Ghost and SCCM solutions are much less so.
Perform OS migration
That’s it, the big day has arrived. The whole IT team is on the alert, with a dose of caffeine needed for this type of day. You can now move on to the key step, migrating OS to your entire IT asset.
Once again, your migration will take place in different ways depending on your solutions, classic PC, VDI, Digital desktop…
If you have deployed desktop virtualization, you can deploy your new operating system from a central console. The handling is therefore very simple and you can quickly see if everything is going as planned or not. In the event of a problem, you can go back without stopping production more than necessary.
If you use a Ghost or SCCM solution, you will have to deploy the new “image” on all workstations. Generally we can’t do it on all stations at the same time, so we’ll have to be patient. Some adjustments may be necessary after this type of deployment, it is therefore necessary to pass on each station one by one.
Warning: with SCCM type software, you must ensure that all your workstations are connected to the network at the time of your migration. The success rate in the case of a migration with SCCM is about 90%.
Finally, you can reinstall the data on your users’ workstations, a task that will be easier of course if your data are present on remote storage.
Tasks after OS migration
And no, it’s not finished yet, OS migration and a task that takes time…
Now you need to generate a status report after migration and identify missing security patches so you can quickly apply them.
Between the time the workstation image has been prepared and the time it has been deployed, it is quite possible that updates will be available, so it is important to ensure that they will be deployed quickly.
It will also be necessary to check that all workstations and programs are working. Often, support has to handle many more calls and help users take control of the new OS. It is sometimes recommended to schedule training sessions to help users with the new operating system.
Well, your mission is now complete, the OS migration is complete! It’s certainly long, expensive and complex, but it’s a task you can’t escape, especially with Microsoft’s media downtime. The ceBox® solution allows you to free yourself from all the constraints linked to OS migration. The migration takes place on 100% of the workstations, and you have the possibility of going back in 1 click to an old version in case of malfunctions of the applications. When migration rhymes with serenity, the whole IT planet applauds!