Windows Server 2003 will reach end of life on July 14, 2015. Support and security patches will no longer be available after that date. If you are still running Server 2003 in your environment, hopefully you are already planning how to migrate your workloads to a supportable platform. If you are just beginning to consider your migration, a sample of tools and methodologies are outlined below to help you get started.
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~ Windows Server Migration Tools
Windows Server 2012 offers a built-in migration solution called Windows Server Migration Tools (install as a feature). Use this tool to ease the process of migrating server roles, features, OS settings and data from Windows Server 2003. The source server must be running at least Server 2003 SP2 or R2. It will handle both 32bit and 64bit. Find the Microsoft guide to this tool here.
Microsoft Partner AppZero offers a tool which extracts and encapsulates only the target applications you want to migrate. You can choose to run the application in the encapsulated form on the destination server, which enables continued portability. This is handy for use in hybrid environments where you might want the flexibility of running the application on a server in the cloud, or in your on-premises environment. With the application encapsulated, you can continue to easily move them between those environments. Or you can choose to ‘dissolve’ the application to the destination server. This enables it to run as if it were natively installed. Learn more about how AppZero can help migrate your workloads, and provide ongoing flexibility.
~ Windows Server 2003 Migration Planning Assistant
This isn’t so much of a tool as it is a workflow type assistant with will help you work through the steps you need to focus on to identify the applications you really need to move. You may find legacy applications which your organization isn’t using any longer, or that so few people are using them that you can help them find alternative solutions and not actually migrate those apps. Get started with the Migration Planning Assistant.
The Migration Planning Assistant steps you through a methodology which helps you identify the applications, features and roles, services and data which you may need to migrate to a supportable platform. Your team may also use this methodology independent of the Planning Assistant.
The first step is to identify all the servers and applications running on Server 2003. Use the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP) to help with identification. You may also decide to enlist the help of Microsoft Partners to help with this, and the entire process.
Now that you have identified your at-risk servers and applications, it’s time to take a critical look at what they are, and how they will fit into your migration plan.
Type – What is it? What does it do?
~ Server Roles
~ Native Microsoft application
Criticality – How important is it to your organization?
~ Mission Critical
Complexity – How many resources and how much time do you need to dedicate to each app?
Risk – How long can you live without the app if it is unavailable during the migration?
What is the destination platform? You may decide to move it to a Microsoft Server 2012 R2 server running in your own datacenter. Or you may want to leverage the flexibility and potential cost-savings of Microsoft Azure. Should the server be physical or virtual? Perhaps this is a messaging or collaboration solution you want to run in Office 365.
You have combed through your environment and identified the applications you need to migrate. Now decide who has responsibility for actually migrating the apps and plan the move. Again, you may utilize tools for the migration, or identify a Microsoft Partner to help you with the process.
How you get there is definitely important and these tools and steps will help you. The most important thing is to get started now. With time on your side, this doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Good luck!