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Endpoint Management Community Blog

Windows 7 and SMP7.5 Migration Complete!

Created: 25 Jul 2014 • 1 comment
ianatkin's picture
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Last week saw us having a few festivities to mark the end of a major project here; our XP to Windows 7 migration. We're all pretty chuffed with what we've achieved here; a very smooth user upgrade with remarkably few hitches considering from start to finish the project of migrating nearly 2900 machines took 7 months. 


This really was a remarkable success. The target time to migrate a user's desktop from XP to Windows 7 was set at 1hr, and this average time was to hold no matter what the site link speed was, and despite the fact that machines would be competing with up to 15 machines being deployed concurrenty.

Most of the migrations were also complicated by the fact that they were at user's desks which were distributed across 50 sites. To enable the deskside techs to focus on confirming machine configuration, specialist software requirements, and the securing/restoration of local user data, the deployment aspect of the migration had to be spot on. The migration process would involve a skeleton ground crew, and thus required a high degree of automation. The tool chosen to execute the migration was DS6.9 and it performed well; 189,000 migration tasks were executed with a four nines accuracy. That's impressive.

Hidden within this project however was another project; our migration to version 7.5 of the Symantec Management Platform. Unknown to most of our users, when they were migrated to Windows 7, they were also migrated to SMP 7.5. This migration was just as smooth. Although we had secured a couple of emergency lifelines within Symantec just in case, it turned out that there was no need to use them. Key points we found were,

  • The new SMP SQL used about 50% less CPU resource on our virtual infrastructure despite the database being twice the size and a more aggressive delta update schedule
  • No service anomolies as yet to report
  • Only minor issues raised to Altiris Support in the migration to SMP 7.5; no show stoppers at any point
  • No requirement from me (as yet) to create lots of custom SQL queries to help manage our client estate. Out-of-box functionality now good enough to keep us moving 'off-piste'. 
  • Much simplified application deployment and reporting (using compliance and flipbooks). Much in the way of day-to-day resource savings here.
  • Don't be afraid to lean on your Symantec reps and Partner. They've got the experience you'll need.
  • Read the release notes, check out the known issues (it can be embarrasing if you skip this step)
  • Check out issues being raised here on Symantec CONNECT. You never know... they just might apply to you!

Important to our implementation was the concept of keeping it simple. So we've only implemented the solutions we really needed,

  1. Software Management
  2. Inventory
  3. Real-time and remote control
  4. Monitor

Timescales were simply too tight to include anything else. The only customisations we went for here were in the UI to give different roles a different console feel. We don't use Patch, Asset or Deployment in the 7.5 world yet. And our software management currently does not utilise supercedence. As we're sub 5000 clients, we also have a single NS server (no hiearchy) and one site server which hosts task services. 

With the migration done and dusted, we've also just recently upgraded to SP1 with only one impacting issue raised; a broken resource manager. This was due to the fact we have duplicate names for our right-click menu tasks (see my other blog today for details) so was nice and simple to resolve. Other than that, I would say it's all pretty much smooth running here.. touch wood.... ;-)

Final words of advice are test as much as you can. Yes, you'll always miss something but you can avoid those nasty show shoppers by testing, testing and then testing again. Good luck!

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ianatkin's picture

For posterity... a chart of tickets raised over the last year and a half.


The background is about 1400 tickets monthly, which means on average each user is expected to contact the helpdesk perhaps 6 times a year to facilitate tasks like password resets, get new printers installed, drive letter access etc.

Over the Windows 7 migration you can see the pretty much anticipated surge which has now quickly settled down to the pre-migration levels once the project had moved into the final phase of dealing with specialist configurations.

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

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