1. Make sure you meet the minimum hardware requirements - These should be published in your VMware user manual. Hardware requirements include processing power, RAM, hard drive space, operating system, and your LAN or WAN speed and bandwidth.
2. Verify your hardware configuration for the number of user stations you'll be deploying.
3. Verify your server meets software requirements, including the right operating system and any peripheral software.
4. Ensure you have the installation DVD or have downloaded the appropriate software.
5. Before you begin to set up your database and virtual server, make sure all your data is backed up in two different ways. - You may opt to “ghost” your server to a matching machine, use tape back-ups, back up your data to the cloud or back it up on a large external hard drive. As USB drives drop in price and increase in size, this is becoming a practical way to back up large amounts of data. As with any back-ups, ensure you keep at least two copies, with one stored at a remote location or in the cloud for 24/7 access from anywhere.
6. Plan for downtime during the upgrades, or make a contingency plan so that your employees can continue working as usual. Ideally, the upgrade can be performed over night or during a holiday to minimize downtime. If this requires paying your IT staff overtime, perform a cost-benefit analysis to compare the additional pay vs. the consequences of server downtime.
7. Make sure you have the phone number for 24 Hour Data handy in the event of a data recovery emergency, just in case those back-ups don't work.