The Deming Cycle and SteelCentral Aternity for Smoother Windows 10 Migrations


When you’re making a transformational IT change, like upgrading to Microsoft Windows 10 across your enterprise, the Deming Cyclean iterative management method used to improve processes and products, can be a huge help.

The Deming Cycle has four steps:

  1. Plan
  2. Do
  3. Check
  4. Act

To implement these tasks effectively for a Windows 10 migration, you need a deep understanding of what your users experience on their devices, both before and after the upgrade. Riverbed SteelCentral™ Aternity End User Experience Monitoring (EUEM) offers this insight.

The Deming Cycle is a great framework to understand how SteelCentral Aternity can improve your Windows 10 migration process. Let’s take a look at each of the steps in turn to see what Aternity brings to the table.

1. Plan

By giving you total visibility into your enterprise’s Windows device landscape, SteelCentral Aternity can help you plan your migration in a number of ways:

  • Inventory your devices. Begin by figuring out what devices exist and where. The SteelCentral Aternity Device Inventory dashboard can show you a list that includes attributes like OS details, model name, memory, CPU, and more — along with each user’s department and business location.
  • Audit your applications. Because Windows 7, 8, and 10 share so much system architecture, you don’t need to uninstall your apps and then reinstall them after upgrading. But that means you might end up with unused, outdated, or unauthorized apps on your devices. The SteelCentral Aternity Monitor Enterprise Applications dashboard, shown in Figure 1, enables you to discover every application actually in use in the enterprise, and to display the number of actual active users of each application, to help you decide what to keep and what to purge.

Figure 1. The SteelCentral Aternity Monitor Enterprise Applications dashboard. 

This just scratches the surface of how SteelCentral Aternity can help you plan; you can also, for instance, use it as a tool to help justify costs and update your BYOD policy.

2. Do

It’s crucial in the Do phase of the Deming Cycle to collect data for analysis in subsequent steps. And the power to monitor applications from the point of consumption, on the end-user devices you’re upgrading, is what Aternity brings to the table, as you can see in Figure 2. You need to understand what your colleagues in the call center or at point-of-sale terminals see when they use applications, not just what things look like on the server side.

Figure 2. The SteelCentral Aternity User Experience dashboard provides a single workflow to monitor the user’s experience of every application on any device. 

There are a number of other ways in which Aternity can help you monitor applications:

  • Monitoring application performance as you migrate
  • Analyzing application performance by department, geography, OS, or device type
  • Drilling down into the performance of individual applications
  • Isolating excessive response time to a client device, network, or server

3. Check

As you begin to upgrade devices to Windows 10, you need to understand exactly how performance has changed from the perspective of your end users: If you roll out the migration enterprise-wide and business slows down, the IT team will be held responsible. SteelCentral Aternity is crucial to the Check stage in the cycle, helping you compare the performance of multiple applications before and after an upgrade, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. The SteelCentral Aternity Validate Change dashboard helps compare performance before and after an upgrade.

As an additional way to check, SteelCentral Aternity lets you drill down into the performance of any individual application.

4. Act

The Act phase of the cycle involves moving forward into ongoing operations, and SteelCentral Aternity can help with the monitoring needed here. For instance, the Monitor SLA dashboard, shown in Figure 4, tells you when application performance is slower than the service level agreement (SLA) thresholds you’ve negotiated with the business.

Figure 4. The Monitor SLA dashboard. 

And that’s not all SteelCentral Aternity can do to help you during the Act phase. You can also:

  • Prioritize problem resolution
  • Proactively identify and resolve problems
  • Rapidly identify the cause of problems

Iterating ahead into the Windows 10 age

Hopefully this article has given you a sense of why the Deming Cycle is a great framework for upgrading to Windows 10 — and how SteelCentral Aternity can help implement it in practice. To learn more, check out: