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INSIGHT: Why Kiwi businesses need to upgrade Windows Server 2003

INSIGHT: Why Kiwi businesses need to upgrade Windows Server 2003

“Server upgrades are more complex than end user operating system upgrades, so while you might have ‘got away with’ a reactive response to moving away from Windows XP, the risks are far too high for servers.”

Turner says the next step is to identify which of the servers and applications are most business-critical, or present most risk.

“A quick ‘traffic light’ classification – red for critical, orange for important and green for everything else gives you a starting point for planning your transition program,” he advises.

Going further, Turner says there are many options for how and what to migrate servers and applications to, calling on organisations to understand the technology and the implications it has on business processes.

The options for companies initiating change are two-fold - upgrade servers to Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2012.

“The move to 2008 is a simple mechanism to ‘buy some time’, and is typically appropriate for low-risk applications that will migrate cleanly and which you will then work out what to do with over the coming 4-5 years,” Turner says.

“Server 2012 is a better strategy for your more business-critical applications – you may need more than one tranche of upgrades though – first, the combination of the most critical and easiest to upgrade software, followed by successively more difficult migrations.

Advising organisations to replace some applications, or move them to the cloud, Turner believes for businesses, this could be the perfect time to investigate the costs and benefits of alternatives to older applications.

Future-proof

“This isn’t a one-off problem,” Turner warns.

While the Server 2003 phase out is “particularly tricky” because of the 32- to 64-bit issue, among others, Turner believes that the phase out of operating systems is cyclical, and in a few years you’ll be looking at Server 2008 and other migrations.

“With some planning and investment now, you can establish a new environment that will ease future migrations as well as this one,” he advises.

“Take a closer look at Microsoft’s Cloud OS vision, which it starts to support with a variety of features in Windows Server 2012 R2.

“The vision is to deliver data centre abstraction, which opens up the opportunity to develop new, overarching processes that are based on a series of incremental improvements and upgrades rather than a single, periodic major migration exercise.”

And while organisations may already have the skills to manage a migration or can acquire them in the short term, the question still remains – is it the best use of time?

“Perhaps you can handle the mainstream applications that are simple to move, but what about those outlier applications?” Turner questions.

“The ones without documentation or where the original developer is long gone, and no one is really sure how it works anymore, but they’re still business critical.

“Or perhaps you have all the documentation, but the cost and complexity of moving make the business case harder to justify.”

For Turner, the combination of the complexity of the migration away from Server 2003 and the opportunity to re-architect business environments to provide easier ongoing management mean that when the time goes come to upgrade, it’s best not to go it alone.

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