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Windows Server Migration Strategy: Discover, Assess, Target, Migrate

Top Tips and Tools to Ease Your Transition

If you’re still running Windows Server 2003 in your data center, you should take steps now to plan and execute a migration strategy to protect your infrastructure. After July 14, Microsoft will no longer issue security updates for any version of Windows Server 2003.

But what’s that first step? For many, it’s turning to Microsoft to guide you on this journey. Microsoft offers informative online tools and resources that can help you discover, assess, target, and migrate your server resources. For any organization having trouble getting the ball rolling on this massive undertaking, this approach—along with Microsoft’s expert resources—provides a valuable strategic guideline to get your migration underway and through to completion. 

First, you’ll want to discover which applications and workloads are running on Windows Server 2003 today. If you’re running legacy Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2005 in your environment, the time has come for a server evolution. But moving to modern infrastructure and databases is not an insignificant task. You can download the Windows Server 2003 Roles Migration Process infographic using Gartner’s 5R (Re-host, Refactor, Revise, Rebuild, Replace, Retire) platform methods as helpful reference models.

Next, you’ll need to assess your infrastructure and categorize applications and workloads by type, importance, and degree of complexity. Have your team take the Upgrading Skills to Windows Server 2012 Jump Start course to accelerate certifications in the skills required to maintain Windows Server 2012, and watch the video Re-Architecting Your Infrastructure with Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft System Center 2012 for an architectural discussion of the critical system components and how you can redesign what you have now to be ready for migration.

At this point, it might be a good idea to download the Windows Server 2012 R2 trial to familiarize yourself with the new server operating system. Once that’s done, you should feel comfortable enough to proceed to the next step, and target a migration destination for each application and workload upon migration.

The final step is to officially migrate from Windows Server 2003, and you can build your migration plan internally or collaborate with a partner.

You can download the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, which provides a unified collection of tools, processes, and guidance for automating server deployments. You should also consider getting the latest Windows Server 2012 and other server infrastructure training at Microsoft Virtual Academy so your team can be prepared to execute the migration and manage the new server infrastructure.

Microsoft also offers other useful resources to help with your Windows Server 2003 migration, including analyst migration recommendations. The Microsoft website offers free downloads of the IDC whitepaper Why You Should Get Current, and Windows Server 2003 Migration Advice from Gartner that can provide you with expert insights that can facilitate your Windows Sever 2003 migration.

Good luck and welcome to the next phase for your business!

With the end of support date for Windows Server 2003 fast approaching, there's never been a better time to plan your data center transformation. Our experts have designed this helpful tool to get you started on the right upgrade path for your unique environment, applications, and workloads.

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