February 6, 2009

Basic Migration Strategies

Most people are cautious about making major infrastructure changes, especially when it is a business infrastructure. Infrastructure migration includes changes in the computer networks and software setups,etc. Migrating to open source software might seem hard at first,but there are ways with which you can introduce Open Source Software into your business without risk. Here are a few guidelines for the migration to the Open Source Software.

Decision dilemma

The most important thing to consider while thinking about a Migration is how important is the migration is and how it is going to change your business ?. It's better to decide whether you want to make a switch or not. Before making a decision ask yourself these questions.

  • Is the client's employee population strictly dependent on a third-party application, plug-in, or devices that are only supported on proprietary platforms such as windows?

  • Has the client intensively developed custom applications based on native
    Win32 APIs and programming environments, such as Visual Basic® or
    other Windows scripting languages?

  • Is the client's entire employee population dependent on advanced Microsoft Office-based functions (for example, dependencies on complex macros)?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then the open source solution might be a less-suitable alternative. However if your decision is to move on with the migration you can do it, but it will require a more complex strategy that will require a careful consideration.

If the answer is no then you can proceed to the migration to open source software without any doubt.

NB : source of the questions - Linux Client Migration Cook Book v2

Slow and steady wins the race!

You can start the migration with simple changes, there will be a few services that can be replaced initially without much changes in the existing infrastructure. For instance you can add programs like Open Office, Firefox and Thunderbird without removing MS Office, Internet Explorer and MS Outlook in your desktop machines, this will help your employees test drive and learn open source software. It's also good if you can try a dual boot option where you can tryout Linux distributions while still running windows.

The easiest way to determine whether open source software is right for business, is to run it along with your normal programs.This has an added advantage, even if you experience errors and trouble learning to use new software, it won't interrupt your normal business.

Moving to Linux Distributions

Once you decided to use open source software on a daily basis, and you are used to it. Then you can start thinking about the operating system migration. It may sound difficult, but most Linux distributions can be installed without any hurdles.You can either dual boot your system with windows and Linux by installing Linux in a hard drive partition without affecting windows or you can tryout the Linux using some Live Linux CD.

Try some Live Linux Distributions

If you are still afraid of changing the operating system, then you can try some Live Linux distributions - Live distributions can run an operating system from a CD or DVD- to get familiar with Linux operating systems. The advantage of using Live distributions is that you can try the operating system without making any change in your computer.

Ubuntu is an easy to use Linux Distribution. You can either download your copy of operating system or you can order a free CD of Ubuntu from their site.There are a number of Live distributions available, like SUSE,Knoppix,etc..

Take some time to getting used to the new operating system, since they have a little different look and feel.

Large scale Migration

Once you are familiar with the open source operating system and software and if you are planning for a major infrastructure change to open source technologies, then you might consult any local open source consultants, They may be able to assist you in the migration process by helping you choose the best solutions and strategies needed to establish the new infrastructure to flourish your business.

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