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XP end of life, migrate in a few simple steps

Now that Windows XP end of life is here, if you are one of those companies still hanging on, there’s likely a bit of panic on what exactly to do. Well there is good news, bad news, and then some more good news. If you are in an industry that has heavy governing compliance, like healthcare, you need to be a little more concerned because you are now in violation of regulations.
If you are not under the microscope of government compliance, then you need not fear. There isn’t going to be any major concern if you don’t jump immediately, but you probably want to begin planning, and make the move within the next year.
XP End of Life. Migrate in a Few Simple StepsIf you are one of those heavily regulated companies with big brother looking over your shoulder, than guess what? Time to get the show on the road. Since you don’t have a lot of time, here’s some good advice to get the job done smoothly and quickly without a lot of headache:

  1. System Center Configuration Manager 2012 – With this Microsoft tool, you will be able to perform Zero Touch installations for your whole organization fairly quickly. The key to leveraging this tool to its fullest is getting your SCCM infrastructure scaled properly and your applications packaged quickly. This product can also manage devices if a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) ends up being the path taken.
  2. Go with Windows 7 – With Windows 7, you’ll still have a similar look and feel to XP, which end users are used to. Going to an entirely new platform like Windows 8 requires more time and will likely also require a lot more training and transitioning with end users. Sticking with something familiar will reduce the shock to the end user base.
  3. Out with the old & in with the new – If it has been awhile since you have introduced new desktops and laptops, this would be a good time to bite the bullet and have it done. Most manufactures offer programs to preload your company images and apps, leaving only the task of migrating the user data. Also, this might be a good time to go with a BYOD solution, where you virtualize the apps and stream to the device the users choose. SCCM can manage this out of the box.
  4. KIS (keep it simple ) – Companies nowadays have allowed complexity to run riot. Unfortunately, I have seen an exorbitant amount of time and money spent because of bureaucracy, rather than the actual time doing the work. If you are one of those companies that fell into the trap of losing the balance between security and flexibility due to an absence of checks and balances, well… I feel your pain. This has become a disease that has infected the IT world and has become the cause of so much complexity and profit loss for very little benefit. It’s hard to fathom (and I will save this for another blog). Get the right project team, with individuals that are high enough up the corporate ladder to make decisions across multiple departments. In other words, your CIO might need to be little more involved in this one. Also, go with the new methods, approaches and technology platforms. The need for massive testing labs and creating a bare metal image for every department is over. All your testing and image development can be done through a few simple virtual instances, secured and managed by SCCM 2012 security.
  5. The right team – One of the biggest mistakes I’ve recently experienced was simply having the wrong people managing the project. Windows desktops are best managed by Microsoft Windows professionals, not by the guy who used to manage the development department that can only think Agile. Agile and Microsoft infrastructure don’t mix well, and you will only add complexity and prolong a fairly straight forward task that needs to be completed.

If you are looking for a consulting team, find one with System Center 2012 experience. This will make the job so much more pleasant and easy to carry out.
That said, I know I’m leaving out a lot of information, but I think I have touched on the most important things to consider if you need to get your company migrated quickly. The most important thing to remember is, go after the Goliath first, as once that is out of the way, everything else will likely run smooth. If you ignore the Goliath, well… good luck.

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Bryon Burkhardt

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