Monday, August 24, 2009

Q and A on Migrations: Profiles

On the last SMB Conference Call, Harry Brelsford and I chatted a bit about our Zero Downtime Migration Strategy and my upcoming appearance with Jeff Middleton at SMB Nation.

Listener Doug C. writes:

    "I just listened to the interview and thought it was great!

    I have a question about your SBS migration strategy. Does it require you to rebuild all of the desktop profiles?"

I responded to Doug directly, but thought I'd share my thoughts with everyone else as well.

A large part of The Network Migration Workbook is dedicated to the premise that perfecting each piece of the big process will improve the process overall.

So, a big part of what we do is explain each individual piece of the project in detail. Then you can choose which tools and techniques make the most sense.

Generally, for under 25 desktops, we’re going to rebuild the local profiles. The primary reason for that is that we’re taking the opportunity to move data to the server, clean off junk, remove programs that don’t belong, clean up renamed users, etc.

In other words, when we’re done, the desktop is perfect and beautiful, faster, and configured the way it should be.

This takes about 1 hour per workstation, depending on the level of detail the client wants to move over. If they want the end user to have an exact replica of their old desktop, that takes a little more time. If they are happy to have the employee get a vanilla desktop, that takes less time. Older machines take more time, newer ones less.

On a well maintained, newer network, the desktop portion is about 45 minutes per workstation. The worst we’ve seen with old, virus-laden workstations is 1.5 hours each (average for the project).

We also rely on Zenith Infotech to help out with these things. They can clean up the desktops weeks in advance and leave us with a 30 minute job per workstation (or less).

Hope that helps. Let me know if you need more info on any piece of this.

- - - -

As a general rule, workstations are the messiest and most time-consuming part of a migration. They're also fraught with the most danger because you can "mess up" someone's personal space pretty badly.

Our experience with managed services is that some clients only want to cover the servers and not the workstations because they don't see the workstations as being "that important." But out experience is that the workstations are the most important part of managed service because that's where all the labor happens.

That's where the client's employees get all the work done and that's where almost everything goes wrong.

And that's why we want the opportunity to touch every desktop and give them a super tune-up on the day of the migration.

One of the problems with just moving active directory and not doing an overhaul on the desktops is that you don't know what problems you've left for yourself.


Now Available:
Introduction to Zero Downtime Migrations
Seminar on MP3 Download

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