By the time you read this, the July 14, 2015 deadline for the end of support for Windows Server 2003 may have already passed, leaving millions of servers around the world in limbo. End of support means open season for hackers and malware writers, safe in the knowledge that there are no more patches coming to repair new security holes.
Still, when it comes to migration, it’s definitely a case of “better late than never.” There are many reasons for upgrading—security and governance issues, support for the latest applications, taking advantage of virtualization built into newer server OS versions to name a few—and very few reasons (other than inertia, that most powerful of IT forces) to keep you in the status quo.
If you’re finally ready to take the plunge here are a few shortcuts that can help cut down the amount of time it takes to get from server oblivion to nirvana.
Measure Twice, Deploy Once
Take a solid inventory of which applications are running on each server. Most 2003 servers are not virtualized, thus many run a single application (email, CRM, finance) and are probably underutilized. Chances are: a) there are applications on your servers you’ve completely forgotten about, and b) migration will give you an opportunity to consolidate some workloads using Hyper-V, (free with Windows Server 2012), VMware, or Citrix Xen to reduce the total number of servers you need.
Business users are taking a lesson from consumer application users and want the same intuitive: responsive application support for all the devices they use to access business information. In our “there’s an app for that” business mentality, choosing a platform that simplifies mobile integration—whether Web- or app-based—not only makes users happy, it also makes them more productive.
Want to get up to speed on 2012 and the latest virtualization, backup, and security tools at your disposal? While you’re deciding what to buy, take advantage of public Cloud provider infrastructure or platform-as-a-service offerings to familiarize yourself, operations, and developers with your new server environment. You can begin testing legacy applications and determine changes that would be of benefit long before the new servers arrive.
Don’t Go It Alone
For most IT organizations the mantra of “do more with less” has morphed into “do everything with nothing.” IT resources and staffs are limited at best, forcing many into firefighting mode—hence the inability to get migration off the ground till now. Here’s where coming late to the party may actually play in your favor. Many server vendors, VARs, and integrators have finely honed practices that focus on 2003 migration, often with years of experience under their belts thanks to the pushback of the cutoff date in recent months. Working with a partner, like PC Connection who has been there and done that can enable you to think about the big picture while your virtual team handles the actual migration and integration of the new systems into existing network and storage.
There is still time to complete an upgrade with little to no impact on user productivity or data security if you have the right players on your team. Get started now!
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.