Virtual desktop environments have quickly become a rallying point for digitally-driven companies. From deploying thin clients for agile workloads in hyper-secure environments to leveraging thick clients to emulate work "Battlestations", virtual desktops provide tangible value across a spectrum of business-user needs. For many businesses, Citrix is the go-to VDI solution. But with 20 percent of VDI users expected to adopt DaaS by 2023 (Citrix estimates this number is closer to 49 percent), Azure Virtual Desktop is an attractive option for businesses looking to quickly push out thin clients or those who are already invested in the Azure ecosystem.

Luckily, both Citrix and Microsoft have fantastic guides to migrating from Citrix to Azure VD. But to take advantage of cloud-based desktops, businesses need to be pragmatic about smart migrations. In a world where 70 percent of IT implementations outright fail, taking time to properly migrate is the key to successful wins. But to properly migrate, you need robust user acceptance testing — and that's easier said than done.

Here's what you need to know about UAT during your Citrix to Azure VD migration.

Your Guide to Migrating Without UAT Headaches

We're not going to throw any of the (many) positive statistics surrounding UAT at you. To be perfectly honest, we aren't going to use this post to discuss the value of UAT as a whole; you probably already know you need to test your environments before you migrate. Here's the problem: most UAT solutions are poorly designed. And very few businesses actually reap the value of UAT during their migration process. Hence: 70 percent of those migrations fail. In fact, Gartner suggests one of the biggest barriers of VDI to DaaS migrations is UAT.

There are two layers to successful UAT: 

  1. Using the right automated testing/monitoring solution.
  2. Leveraging the right UAT strategy.

For the first part, you want an intelligent, agentless, and ultimately pain-free way to automate workflows across both environments. Ideally, your tool will allow you to seamlessly work across both environments without any coding or annoying integration issues. We've discussed how 2 Steps can help you monitor, automate, and succeed at scale. So, let's focus on the "strategy" side for a moment.

At 2 Steps, we highly recommend the following steps: 

  1. Identify the most impactful workflows: Figure out which workflows are mission-critical. Typically, these will be workflows dependent on your apps or data sources. Technically, you could attempt to automate all of your workflows. But, to be perfectly realistic, most businesses settle for their most mission-critical to save time/energy/costs.
  2. Automate these workflows in 2 Steps in both environments: Use savvy, cutting-edge solutions like 2 Steps to automate those workflows in both environments. That last part is important. You want to understand how your workflows are being executed across each environment to drive actionable changes. Even if both workflows... well... work, it doesn't mean they both work well. If your old Citrix environment took 2 minutes to complete a workflow and the Azure environment takes 10 minutes, that's a problem.
  3. Leverage metrics out of the gate: Once you start automating workflows using 2 Steps, don't rely on gut feelings to confirm workflow cadence. Data (e.g., charts, alerts, thresholds, etc.) should be the backbone of your UAT.
  4. Pinpoint your failures and eradicate workflow frictions: Once your data uncovers frictions in your workflows in your new environment, take actionable steps and make changes. Ideally, you should be able to compare your old environment (i.e., Citrix) to your new environment (i.e., Azure) to ensure that old workflows still work as intended in your new ecosystem.

It's that easy! Yes, you could spend extra time diving through and testing every nook-and-cranny. But tackling the critical stuff pre-migration is a good start. Tools like 2 Steps can also help you pick up the slack by automatically diving through other (more niche) workflows during the process.

What Does Perfect UAT During A Migration Look Like?

Alright. You know the basics. But what does this look like in its end state? How should your UAT perform during (and after) migration to help you understand performance, scalability, security, and accessibility?

Imagine this:

You decide you want to move from Citrix to Azure (essentially going from VDI to DaaS). To accomplish this daring mission, you recruit top-tier migration experts and ready them for battle. These experts think-tank all of the critical workflows (with input from boots-on-the-ground employees) involved in your virtual desktop environment.

Next, you leverage a tool like 2 Steps to automate those workflows in your Citrix environment as well as your new Azure environment. Since you're using 2 Steps, the same people who are handling the migration can also design the workflow automation sequence (thanks to our no-code infrastructure). Not only does this save you tons of time, money, and headaches, but it prevents any frictions between workflow identification and automation.

Now, as your team plans the rest of the migration process, they're getting a constant feedback loop of how each of those workflows is performing across both environments. When a problem pops up (e.g., slowness, lag, UX issues, glitches, etc.), your team can tackle it before your DaaS goes live. Here's the best part: your entire UAT process is now driven by tangible data, not heuristics. Any necessary changes can be proven. And time-wasting activities are identified and eliminated.

Achieving Consistent Success Post-Migration

Most businesses will use both on-premise and DaaS desktop virtualization. Sure. 36 percent of businesses adopted and deployed VDI/DaaS. So, you may be thinking, "we don't need on-premise and/or DaaS." But (according to the 2021 Deloitte and Google End-User Computer Survey) 90 percent of enterprises with virtualized workloads have at least some on-premise workloads. And the majority of those with on-premise workloads are looking to deploy in the cloud. There are benefits to both solutions, and certain clients work better in certain environments. So, it's important to create consistent, ongoing UAT across both environments. 

Want to know how to do it in more detail? Download your free copy of our latest whitepaper.

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