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Windows 7 Migration Made Easy…with Horizon Mirage Layers!

By Sachin Sharma, Horizon Mirage Product Marketing Manager, End-User Computing, VMware

Many organizations face challenges during operating system and hardware migration projects. These challenges include choosing the right tool to help automate the process, utilizing precious IT staff time to accurately complete the project, pre- and post-migration assessment…to name a few. And it doesn’t help if IT is constantly under pressure to help drive the migration project to completion under strict time constraints. That is especially true for Windows XP to Windows 7 migration projects, since Microsoft’s support for Windows XP officially ends on April 8, 2014.

Some organizations may have already finished their Windows XP migration projects. Others may have just begun, just to realize the tool they’re using isn’t quite working as planned. And others may still be evaluating options for the best tool to use for their Windows XP migration project. For the latter two scenarios, IT staff must be thinking, “There has to be a tool out there to help make this migration process easier!” Well, that IT staff probably hasn’t taken a look at VMware Horizon Mirage. Horizon Mirage simplifies Windows XP migration for both IT and end-users. And with the layering capabilities that come with Horizon Mirage, the migration process gets even easier. How? Let’s explain.

First, let’s take a step back and explain what Horizon Mirage is. For the purposes of this blog, Horizon Mirage helps simplify the operating system and hardware migration processes. Horizon Mirage does this by giving IT the flexibility to determine what is centralized (or backed up) from each XP endpoint. IT builds out a base image (we call it a base layer) that contains the OS, common applications, and common data files. IT also builds out a driver library to help push out drivers to hardware from different PC vendors—so you don’t need dozens of base layers.

The base layer is then downloaded to the XP endpoints in the background, so your end users’ productivity is not affected. Users are prompted to reboot upon completion of the base layer download, and it’s usually about a half hour of downtime during this reboot. The user can then log into their new Windows 7 OS, with all their personalization settings intact.

Now, how does layering fit into the equation, and ultimately help IT? Up to this point, we’ve mentioned only base layers and the driver library. These two layers are important because they’re the underlying layers in each Windows 7 deployment. But what about applications that don’t necessarily fit into a base layer, such as one-off applications or departmental applications? This is where Horizon Mirage application layers come into play. IT can build application layers with one, two, or many applications. IT can even put ThinApp packages into application layers. Application layers then get distributed on top of the base layer assigned to each XP endpoint. IT can assign as many application layers to the endpoints as needed. If endpoint 1 requires applications X and Y, and endpoint 2 requires applications A, B, and Y, IT can distribute these accordingly—all during the migration process!

In addition, Horizon Mirage categorizes user data into a user personalization layer. The user personalization layer is also migrated during the migration process, which makes the migration seamless from the end user’s viewpoint.

In case something bad happens during the migration (application missing, data missing, or worse, vacation pictures lost!), IT has the option to halt migration and revert to the original Windows XP state.

The flexibility of working with these different layers in Horizon Mirage makes the tool worth looking at for OS and hardware migration projects. And the layering capabilities in Horizon Mirage keep end users productive, with minimal downtime during a migration.

For more information on how Horizon Mirage can help you with your migration project, please visit the VMware Horizon Mirage website.