Windows Server 2003 Migration: Planning Considerations
In previous posts, we discussed the impending end-of-life of Windows Server 2003. Here, we’ll look at what to consider in planning the migration process from Windows Server 2003. Where does your organization fall?
- In a good position:
- You do not have any Windows 2003 servers in your infrastructure.
- You are well under way or have completed your Windows 2003 migration tasks.
- Your Active Directory level is Windows 2008 or higher and you have a handle on the few remaining Windows 2003 member servers.
- There is a migration in your future:
- Your Active Directory infrastructure level is 2003 (or lower).
- You have multiple Windows 2003 servers in your infrastructure.
- You have primary applications and data still residing on Windows 2003 servers.
- You have only a few Windows 2003 servers.
If you believe a Windows 2003 migration is just another maintenance initiative assigned your IT department, you are probably taking this task too lightly and are setting yourself up for a big problem. For many organizations, this is one of those times where your infrastructure will undergo considerable changes. You can make the changes you need to get by or you can use this opportunity to modify your infrastructure to align with your goals. Either way, all of these are considerations that factor into your planning and execution:
- Hardware – Use the existing or buy new?
- Software – Use the existing or upgrade? What about compatibility issues and legacy software? Do we migrate to a new application completely?
- Software licensing – What will change in licensing? We will probably need new operating system licenses. If we utilize tools like terminal services, we will need new Client Access Licenses (CALs). Upgrades to applications will most likely require updated application licenses.
- Virtualization – If you do not have a virtual environment, this may be the time to start a virtualization initiative. If you have a virtual environment, what is the availability of resources?
- Costs – There is a dollar amount tied to every IT initiative. Do you know your budget?
- Time – How much time is the initiative going to take?
- IT Staff – Do you have people with the knowledge and experience to perform the tasks?
- User base – How will a migration affect the users? What parts of the migration affect which business units? Are there existing initiatives in our user base that tie in to our migration planning?
- Training – Changes made to the infrastructure will require IT training. Changes made to the user offerings will require user training. New applications and tools incorporated into the migration will require training.
- Security – If we do not change some systems, what are the consequences of leaving some Windows 2003 servers in the environment? How do the changes we may propose affect the security of our environment?
- Infrastructure changes – If we add virtualization initiatives, new hardware initiatives, server consolidation, and application alterations, how will this affect our infrastructure? Are we moving to a different level of Active Directory? Do we have to change supporting servers and resources (SAN Storage, switch ports, recovery resources, etc.)?
- Facility requirements – Will our infrastructure grow or shrink sue to the migration? If so, how will that affect our facilities? Do we require more or less rack space, power requirements, cooling, wiring, etc.?
Now that you have an idea of what you need to consider when planning your migration, we can take a look at the tasks needed to create and execute a plan. Those tasks can be found in next week’s post – “Windows 2003 Migration: Tasks Part 1 – Inventory”.
As always, I welcome your comments or questions. Please feel free to leave them below or email me directly.
Craig R. Kalty (CCIA, CCEE, CCA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:SA, VCP)|
Sr. Network Consultant
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