Heavy-lifting your OS migration for enterprise mobility

By: Gene Morita


In an enterprise mobility environment, rarely are any two systems exactly alike. An enterprise can contain multiple priorities for different groups, personas and business units. Migrating to a new operating system (OS) is a true test for an organization’s mobile infrastructure.

Migrations can vary in duration anywhere from six to 18 months depending on their complexity, requirements and scope. Whether your focus is on reducing migration duration, minimizing costs or adhering to compliance for all devices, an enterprise should consider a migration solution that works best for their organization.

Ensuring user data is securely and properly migrated is one of the most important considerations in a migration. User-state migration is a two-step process by which the important files and settings present within the OS are captured and saved to an intermediate storage location. Once the new operating system is installed, the files and settings will be restored to the new OS.

Each user’s data, settings and installed applications will differ from their peers’. In the hands of the user, the computer develops a unique configuration, also known as a personality. This personality may be tied to the system’s primary user, multiple users or a specific business role.

At the system level, the personality consists of files, registry entries and installed applications that deviate from the organization’s core build. Typically, a personality is layered on top of the core OS, drivers and application layers.

Migration strategies for enterprise mobility

  • Assessment: Before an organization can plan for a change like this, the environment, users, systems, applications and data must be properly assessed.
  • Planning: For effective migrations with minimal disruption to the business, planning should begin as early as possible.
  • Preparation: Users, groups and departments need to prepare for migrations in advance. Providing FAQs, blogs, forums and question-and-answer sessions will help users get ready for the upcoming migration. Education should be offered before, during and after the migration. Various solutions can assist in communicating key migration information to users, including when and how it will occur. The larger the organization, the more benefits are realized from automation and time invested in preparation.
  • Process: In the data migration process, OS upgrades and data backups can strain the network and cause performance disruptions to business activities. Options include automated data backup and restoration utilizing network or cloud storage, as well as localized data migration where the data never leaves the device but is stored locally in a protected area during the upgrade.
  • Support: In order for a migration to be successful, the end users must remain informed during all phases of the migration. Provide advanced notification on what to expect during the migration period through self-help materials and other resources, and offer continued support after the migration is completed.

From ensuring support for legacy apps to moving users’ documents, folders and applications, IT faces multiple challenges with new operating systems such as Windows 10. Automating this process can help ease the task of transferring users’ content on a large scale.

Mobility is about putting business in motion with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Today’s mobile leaders are doing more to seamlessly integrate mobile into the fabric of their business. Securely integrating mobile into your traditional work environment will help ensure your OS achieves long-term success and your enterprise can thrive as a true digital workplace.

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About The Author

Gene Morita

Global Offering Manager for Managed Mobility Services, IBM

Gene has been with IBM for 15 years and has taken on managed mobility services roles in delivery, architecture and offering management, which provides him a unique end-to-end understanding of IBM digital workplace services offerings.