What are the best practices you should follow when planning a VDI migration? How can you avoid the pitfalls before you begin, during the implementation, and post-migration? The following dos and don’ts of a VDI migration project will help.
Do Properly Plan the Project
Planning is essential in all VDI migration projects. This is true in organisations of any size, but it is even more important when there are thousands, or tens of thousands, of users potentially involved. You need to plan everything from the technical resources that will be required to your application strategy to how you will provide end-user support.
Don’t Ignore the Importance of C-Suite Buy-in
The entire process will be smoother if you have C-suite buy-in from the start. It is beneficial to the process if senior leaders view a VDI migration project as a business/strategic investment, rather than simply a technical/IT investment.
Do Create a Business Case
To get C-suite buy-in, it is helpful to create a business case. The business case should explain what you are planning, why, how the business will be impacted, the downsides, and the benefits to the business.
Don’t Implement Virtual Desktops Based on Cost Savings Alone
Reduced cost is a benefit of migrating a proportion of your users to virtual desktops, but it is not the only potential benefit. In fact, it is important that you have sound business and strategic reasons for embarking on a VDI migration project, as cost savings are rarely enough. VDI migration projects based solely on saving money typically stumble and fall.
Do Anticipate Future Requirements
It is essential that you accurately assess your current requirements, particularly in terms of memory, CPU performance, storage, and network bandwidth. If you don’t do this, users will struggle from day one of the VDI migration.
However, it is also important to anticipate your future requirements, building those requirements into your virtual desktop infrastructure.
Don’t Over-Provision Resources
The above point talked about the importance of ensuring you have sufficient resources for current and anticipated future requirements. However, it is just as important that you don’t over-provision resources, as you will be paying for (and managing) resources that the business doesn’t need.
Do Consider Moving to a Modern Application Format
Modern application formats, such as MSIX, App-V, App Volumes, Numecent Cloudpaging, and app attach, work much better on VDI systems like Azure Virtual Desktops. Therefore, a VDI migration is an excellent opportunity to also migrate to one of these modern formats.
Don’t Try to Do It Manually
Doing a VDI migration manually is hugely time-consuming, resource-intensive, and prone to errors. Even before you begin the migration, there is so much data you have to collect and process – information on users, details of the apps in your estate, whether or not a user or app is ready for the migration, and whether or not you have sign-off to migrate a particular user. When you scale this up to the thousands or tens of thousands, solutions like manual spreadsheets simply don’t cut it.
Automation will make a massive and positive impact on your VDI migration project. With tools like Access Symphony Insights, for example, you can automate most, if not all, of the repetitive and resource-intensive tasks required to move users across to virtual desktops at scale.
Do Identify Users that Are Not Suitable for a VDI Migration
There will be some users in your organisation that will have a largely seamless transfer across to a virtual desktop. This typically includes office workers that predominantly use apps like Office 365, an email client, and a CRM.
There will also be users in your organisation that need much higher levels of performance from their machines. For many of these users, a virtual desktop is not suitable. It is important these users are identified and excluded from the VDI migration project.
Don’t Over-Promise on Performance
For the users that will be moving from a physical machine to a virtual desktop, don’t over-promise on performance. Unless there is something seriously wrong with their existing machine, their new virtual desktop will deliver lower levels of performance as it will be sharing resources. Explaining the other benefits of a virtual desktop helps when managing user expectations.
Do Look for Simplification Opportunities
There are multiple simplification opportunities that exist when undertaking a VDI migration project. For example, does each user need their own virtual desktop or license? Part-time employees working alternate shifts might be able to share a virtual desktop or app license.
Don’t Ignore Existing Assets
One element of a VDI migration project is to scrap older desktops, replacing them with virtual desktops. It is best to take care with this process, however, as it doesn’t make sense to scrap a well-specified PC and replace it with a virtual desktop that delivers lower levels of performance. It is often better to let the older machine reach its end of life before scrapping it.
Do Put in Place Comprehensive User Support
Even with the best planning, users will still need support during and immediately after a VDI migration project. It is important to put structures and mechanisms in place to provide this support. However, this doesn’t mean you need to have large IT teams ready to respond to queries. In fact, much of the support that you provide can be automated with tools like those provided in Access Symphony.
Don’t Neglect the Importance of Communication
Your VDI migration project will progress much more efficiently and smoothly if you bring users with you. That starts with good communication.
Do Bring in Expertise
As already mentioned, you need the right automation tools to complete a VDI migration project with minimal amounts of friction. However, it is also important to have support from a team with experience and expertise in the end-to-end management of migrating tens of thousands of enterprise users to virtual desktops.
Don’t Underestimate the Complexity and Potential Pitfalls
Finally, cutting corners and underestimating the scale of a VDI migration project can lead to significant and costly issues. In some cases, the project can even fail as users go back to using physical PCs.
Through proper planning, automation, and expert support, you can realise the benefits that VDI can bring.
Planning is essential in all VDI migration projects.
This is true in organisations of any size, but it is even more important when there are thousands, or tens of thousands, of users potentially involved. You need to plan everything from the technical resources that will be required to your application strategy to how you will provide end-user support.