How Long Will it Take and How Much Will it Cost?


The main reasons why IT organizations fail to move legacy applications to modern, fast, secure Windows servers is that doing so takes too long, costs too much, and requires too much internal resourcing. At VirtaMove, we’ve developed software to overcome those hurdles. Now you can move forward.

Using automated migration software to move applications from legacy Windows Servers will save over 80% of the time and over 70% of the cost compared to traditional manual migration or app re-development efforts.

This blog provides guidelines for the average resourcing required to move applications from 100 legacy WS2008 servers and for a stateful re-install of the applications on modern, secure Windows servers. It outlines VirtaMove best practices that expedite the migration process and support our rule-of-thumb productivity metrics. Cost estimates are provided based on real-world experience using VirtaMove on major customer projects.

How long does it take? Productivity rules of thumb

How long does it take to move applications from 100 WS2008 servers? The following heuristics are based on five years of experience moving thousands of applications for hundreds of customers.


In 1 week…
One experienced Application Mover can move approx. 2 servers.

In 1 month…
One experienced App Mover can move approx. 8-10 servers into production.

In 1 year…
One experienced App Mover can move 100 servers.
If you have 400-500 servers to move and migrate, you’ll need 4-5 App Movers for one year.

As the graph below outlines, productivity of 2 server migrations per week doesn’t mean it will take 2.5 days to do a migration. While some migrations may take a couple of days, many take 2 or 3 weeks to complete because of unavoidable operational wait states.

Figure 1: Estimated Migration Time to Move Legacy WS2008 Apps to a Modern Windows Server


The key to maintaining migration productivity

The key to maintaining migration productivity of 2 migrations per week is multitasking. Migration automation lets you work on many migrations at once.


If the average migration completion time is 3 weeks…
An Application Mover will need to work on 6 simultaneous migrations to achieve 2 migrations per week.

If the average migration completion time is 2 weeks…
An Application Mover will need to work on only 4 simultaneous migrations to achieve 2 migrations per week.

The automated migration effort includes planning, server provisioning, migration, UAT, and production cutover. It doesn’t assume the availability of app source code or install scripts. Productivity increases with experience and time and will vary based on the operational flexibility of the IT environment.


VirtaMove is used by leading customers in banking, telecom, and pharma. Costs* are per source server and depend on the volume of licenses needed and professional services required during phases of a migration.


Stateful re-install using VirtaMove V-Migrate:
2 servers per week – Single licence price starting at $6,000/source server migration (licence costs reduce with volume).

Vs. alternative, traditional migration methods:

Hand migration and new install of the same application stack on a modern server:
2-3 months per server – More than $30,000/source server migration.

Application stack re-development, remediation, and re-licencing:
More than 6 months per server – More than $100,000/source server plus maintenance fees.
(*Cost estimates in USD, as at Jan. 2019)

Performing a stateful re-install using VirtaMove Migration Intelligence Suite is always a good first step, even if you’re planning application re-development or remediation in the future. You get to do app enhancements, with all the advantages of a new, modern server and a modern OS, using advanced tools – at less than 30% of the cost per server migration.

Factors that affect the productivity rules of thumb

Many factors impact application migration productivity. The more operationally nimble an organization is, the shorter the wait states. Shorter and fewer wait states lead to greater migration productivity and less time and lower cost for each server migration. An adaptable operations team can support approximately 10 server migrations per application mover per month; a less adaptable team may only support 2-3 server migrations per application mover per month.

Productivity factors include:


  • The OS version of the source legacy Windows server and new target server
  • The number and nature of the applications on each legacy server
  • Commonality between applications
  • Knowledge about each application
  • Application licensing and security requirements
  • The amount of data
  • The dependency between applications on each server, and the tiered dependency between applications that work across many servers
  • Available network bandwidth
  • The sizing and provisioning of target servers
  • The hardening process and security standards on the target servers
  • The availability of skilled users for acceptance testing
  • The response rate and adaptability of the operations team when wait states happen
  • The production cut-over process and the server decommissioning process

How do we deal with server and application factors?

To help “Application Movers” automate movement of legacy applications to modern, secure Windows servers, we’ve developed a suite of Migration Intelligence tools. The VirtaMove Migration Intelligence Suite consists of three components that work seamlessly together:

V-Maestro – an Orchestration tool that manages intelligent agents. It publishes agents out to servers on your network under your control. V-Maestro:


  • discovers applications
  • maps dependencies between applications
  • develops migration templates
  • manages the versioning and removal of agents
  • automates the flow of applications between source and target servers

V-Maestro also collects monitoring information and builds a graphical cluster analysis of applications and servers on your network. It lets you select only the apps you’re interested in monitoring. It provides capacity planning metrics for your new servers, monitoring reports, and lets you assign roles and users to migration projects. When the system has learned the application and a full migration template is developed, the app is highlighted as “ready” for migration.

V-Monitor – an application discovery and monitoring agent. Monitoring provides critical usage information.

With V-Monitor you can:


  • detect which applications are running on which Windows server
  • determine which applications are used and how frequently
  • prioritize and size migration tasks
  • build a migration plan

V-Monitor Reporting shows which server applications should be decommissioned and which applications are ideal targets for automated migration. It captures application dependencies, which means less acceptance testing post migration.

V-Migrate – an application migration agent. V-Migrate moves server applications to a new operating system; for example, from Windows Server 2003 or 2008 to Windows Server 2012, 2016, or 2019. If you’re moving to Windows Server 2019, you can get there in one step – no need to first upgrade to Windows Server 2012 or 2016. Modernizing lets you leverage features of a new operating system and avoids the extended support fees and security risks of running on unsupported systems.

Best practices for using the Migration Intelligence Suite

VirtaMove’s best practices minimize wait states and reduce the time needed for a migration.

Application monitoring

Monitoring speeds up the migration process and reduces the duration of the UAT cycle. During monitoring, knowledgeable users exercise all the features of an application to develop an accurate migration template. Templating reduces testing efforts post migration.

A fast network with lots of bandwidth

A fast network helps to move applications and data quickly between source and target servers.

Knowledgeable users and application testers

Knowledgeable users and testers help shorten testing efforts post migration.

Available security and application license keys

Application migration be delayed if you lack required security and license keys. Sounds obvious, but it’s a common problem.

A server provisioning precheck list

Spending time upfront developing a server provisioning precheck list helps minimize the rework needed on new target servers.

Organize migrations into groups

Organizing similar applications into common migration groups lets you work on parallel tracks, speeds up the migration process, and can unlock re-usable migration templates.

Scheduling testing and cutover timeframes and procedure

Scheduling testing and cutover is important, as is communicating the schedule. Don’t schedule a critical testing or acceptance step when your application expert or key IT resource is on vacation.

Automation can help you move forward significantly. The many tangible benefits of running apps on modern, secure servers will far offset the modest costs involved in upgrading hardware and operating systems. In many cases, you can expect a pay off from your nominal investments in a couple of months or less.

We hope that our productivity heuristics and cost estimates help advance your understanding of automated migration productivity. If you have any questions about this productivity or would like us to help you with your modernization cost benefit analysis, reach out to us. We’d be happy to share what we know.