Remember when 2020 felt far away? 2020 used to be a time where anything was possible: flying cars, people on Mars, robot butlers and of course, jetpacks. But for network administrators, 2020 only means one thing: Windows as a Service.

And when it comes to Windows as a Service, 2020 isn’t that far away any more. For the estimated 30-40% of companies who haven’t begun their migration from Windows 7 to Windows 10, they now have less than two years to complete the migration process.

For enterprises that need to upgrade millions of devices, they may only have enough runway to complete a migration that goes off without a hitch. And if you’ve ever been in charge of an enterprise-wide migration, then you know “without a hitch” is not something you can plan on.

When evaluating your runway, consider the following:

  • Current velocity: How quickly are you currently updating the devices in your network?
  • Current population: How many devices do you ultimately need to migrate?
  • Current capacity: What are your staff and network resources for distributing the software?

By comparing your velocity and population against your capacity, you should be able to quickly see if you are on target to meet the deadline with time to spare, if you’re going to squeak by, or if the deadline is a pipe dream.

Depending on how much runway you have, you may consider how much you want to risk missing the deadline versus spending the money necessary to accelerate your deployment. One common way to accelerate your deployment is to engage a Managed Service Partner (MSP). While their expertise can make migration easier, don’t forget that finding an MSP can take months to identify, vet and come to an agreement. This time will eat into your runway, shrinking your window of success.

Another solution is to add on-premise distribution points to increase network speed. However, this does nothing to alleviate the lack of staff time and resources to distribute, install and verify deployment on each device.

Compared to MSPs or on-premise solutions, cloud-based solutions offer a number of advantages. Software content distribution platforms will generally be less expensive than outside consultants or new hardware, while allowing you to save time on-boarding the vendor or installing hardware. The use of a software solution can allow you to prove out your migration plan on a small scale as a pilot project to help you determine your actual runway so you can plan appropriately.

As a result, you won’t have to ask for a large budget or take a leap of faith. Nor will you have to worry about having enough runway for a second chance. With software you can run a trial that takes anywhere from a few days to just a few hours, helping you determine your runway without risk to your budget or timeline.