The Window for Migrating Is Closing: 3 Things You Need to Know When Migrating Off Windows Server 2003

On July 14, 2015, Microsoft will withdraw extended support for Windows Server 2003. If you are running workloads on Windows Server 2003, you need to consider migrating your workloads to avoid potential security and incompatibility issues.

A migration off the server is integral to your processes and infrastructure, and as Microsoft announcements explain, "End of support for Windows Server 2003/R2 can have a dramatic impact on your business. It will mean no more updates or patches from Microsoft, which can result in a less stable and less secure infrastructure for your organization." (In other words, the migration decisions you make now will prevent you from a lot of headache later down the road.)

So with the looming deadline just days away, there are three things you need to consider as you weigh your options and choose your solution for moving forward.

Here are the three things you need to know.

  1. This is an opportunity. Since the debut of Windows Server 2003, there have been over 140 features added to the Windows Server family. In the past decade, the technical landscape has been greatly altered due to the advancement of technological solutions and the widespread adoption of virtualization through the cloud.So rather than viewing the migration as a stumbling block, time suck, or business challenge, look at migration as an opportunity to modernize your infrastructure. By migrating your workloads and changing your server structure, you may be able to optimize performance and/or reduce operating costs – or even better, accomplish both.A server update can be the opportunity your organization needs to ensure files are organized. This is a great time to evaluate and sort data, and eliminate what is no longer needed. This can also be an optimal time to implement policies that ensure properly maintained file shares and create greater efficiency in file storage and sharing.

    Also, a migration from Windows Server 2003 presents an opportunity for you to finally migrate workloads to a cloud-based infrastructure. Solutions such as AWS or Azure presents customers the opportunity to commission, implement, and configure services in a matter of weeks.  You may be able to use this forcing factor as the trigger to build out a more flexible infrastructure to grow with your business.

  2. Approach, cost, and risk are key considerations. When making decisions for the migration, your approach, overall cost (and savings), and risk should drive the process.The first step is to complete due diligence and determine your current infrastructure state and needs. During your approach, take inventory and characterize your existing workloads. You should know exactly what workloads you have, and characterize each based on the resources they require to perform optimally. Also, identify short and long-term peak loads (rather than averages) and ensure you correctly provision resources for these during your infrastructure migration.When evaluating costs, know your workloads and requirements. Currently, most company IT expenses share the 75/25 split – 75 percent of the budget is allocated to keeping up with what’s running and 25 percent to invest in changes. Moving to an updated infrastructure is the opportunity to flip this ratio.

    Also, because Windows Server 2003 was an on-premise solution, implementing a cloud or hybrid solution will allow for flexibility. And due to the flexibility of cloud, there are myriad payment plans and support options helping you make this migration. Review all the viable options and identify the one that best suits your current and short-term needs.

    While the risks involved will vary based on the migration method, consider data security, application compatibility, and ongoing updates and maintenance to keep the system current.

  3. There are options. There is no one-size fits all solution, but there is a size and solution for each unique migration. With options ranging from a Windows Server upgrade to a new server migration to cloud migration to moving from physical to virtual (P2V) or virtual to virtual (V2V), consider using the decision tree method, outlined in this TechEd North America video.Regardless of which option you choose, look at the intended outcome and ensure that the solution is a business enabler and it optimizes, not hinders, the efficacy of your infrastructure.

Next month is the end of life for Windows Server 2003. And that means we have to accept it – and migrate.

For more about the importance of migrating off Windows Server 2003 and how to ensure you’re making the right choice for your infrastructure, review the Cloudamize white paper, Relocating Windows Server 2003 Workloads: An Opportunity to Optimize.

Related Posts