- Understand the current make up of your IT estate to expose any potential compatibility issues
- Perform a detailed inventory of what is happening within the data centre:
- Know how many Windows Server 2003 servers you have
- Where are they physically located?
- What applications are running on it?
- What servers are interacting with each other?
- Analyse and categorise applications and workloads by type, importance, and degree of complexity
- Ensure software and workload catalogues are up to date
- Make a rational assessment of the business’s future application needs and what infrastructure will be required to support it
- Decide which applications are essential to the business
- Select applications for migration
Is cloud the next logical step?
For many businesses, once analysis and discovery is complete and applications are selected for migration, the decision on infrastructure may naturally lead to considering cloud. The next generation of network solutions is defined by virtualisation and the Cloud, and if businesses choose to go the Cloud route, then Microsoft’s own Azure platform may be the answer.
While adding cloud to the mix might feel like complicating the issue ever further, the ease of scalability and predictability of costs that are associated with cloud mean that it must be considered. Cloud also gives businesses the opportunity to see where application functionality may be improved upon, rather than simply being migrated in its current iteration. There may be more up-to-date cloud-based services available that better suit the business’s needs. Not only does this remove the management burden and associated costs of a large IT stack, but could offer far more flexibility for businesses who have variable demands and workloads.
- Target the right solution for your business; cloud, private or hybrid:
- Windows Server 2012 R2
- System Center 2012 R2 (Private Cloud)
- Microsoft Azure (Public Cloud)
- SQL Server 2014
- Office 365
- Choose a migration destination for each application and workload, either in the data centre or in the Cloud
- Build your migration plan – do it yourself, collaborate with a partner, or use a service
- Migrate high priority applications first
- Migrate everything off Windows Server 2003
Time to think big
There is no denying that migrating from Windows Server 2003 is a challenge. But it’s an essential one that will pay dividends in the future; by leading businesses towards a modern, cloud-optimised infrastructure. What’s more, the risks of not addressing the end of support are too great to ignore – businesses may suddenly find themselves in a position of non-compliance, and will leave themselves open to significant security risk.
It’s estimated that millions of machines worldwide are still running Windows Server 2003, as such, there will be many, many businesses affected by the end of support if they leave it too late to address. The time really is now for businesses to address the pressing need to migrate and also to ‘think big’ – seeing the move to Windows Server 2012 R2 as the perfect time to reassess their server and cloud strategy. Rather than considering the end of support as a negative, businesses that can also see the opportunity will be the ones that will benefit.