Windows Server 2003: Preparing for Server Migration

As we have mentioned several times recently, the end-of-support date for Windows Server 2003 is right around the corner.

One thing is for certain – if you have made the decision to migrate, and are waiting until the last minute, you are in trouble. This isn’t like updating the Office Suite on your laptop. A server is completely different. However, it should be looked at as an opportunity to provide true business value. Technology capabilities have evolved dramatically in the past decade, with the emergence of cloud and new standards for manageability and security.

Migration-off-Windows-Server-2003When talking about server migration, it is paramount that businesses take the time to assess their technology infrastructures and put together a migration plan. Some key areas of focus for this are:

  • Find Target Servers – First thing to get this process started, you must find out where all of your Windows Server 2003 instances are. For small organizations, this is no big deal. But for medium to large organizations, this could be significantly more complicated and could require some additional resources to accomplish. If you are running a mix of physical and virtualized servers, then priority should go to addressing physical server aspects, as most Windows Server 2003 licenses are tied to the physical box, which is usually commodity hardware.
  • Compose Affected Applications List – Once you have mapped out the servers that still need to be upgraded, you will need to assess the applications and workloads that are installed. This part could get tricky, as some older applications could have issues when moving to a 64-bit environment such as Server 2012. If many of the applications themselves are outdated, they may not be able to run on newer versions of the server at all. It is important to make a list of what all will be effected so that you can properly prepare for your server migration.
    • When completing this portion of the process, you should categorize applications and workloads by type, importance, and degree of complexity.
  • Determine Risks – Unfortunately, when dealing with Server upgrades, the list of things that can go wrong is extensive. This becomes damaging to productivity if a mission-critical application is offline for an extensive period of time. Before migrating a server, you must become intimately familiar with your disaster recovery plans. Know what applications will have what implications if they are the unfortunate victim of an outage, and how various workflows are tied to your bottom line. Be familiar with all of your systems back-ups so that you know how to install them if you need to. As a part of this, make a rollback plan. This will ensure that if anything does go wrong you can roll back any application to their original state.
  • Map your Migration – Determine the new destination for each application and workflow that must be migrated. This can be either in a datacenter or in a cloud application.
  • Make an Execution Plan – Once all aspects of your server migration have been mapped out, decide who is responsible for the execution of the migration and when the migration itself is going to happen. You can do this in-house or gain the expertise of a Microsoft partner.


If you follow this checklist, you should be well on your way to a solid plan that will help you get started with your Windows Server 2003 migration. With the end of life date so quickly approaching, not much time is left. Have you started your server migration yet? Contact the experts at Orion and let us help you!

By | 2017-03-24T13:47:55-04:00 March 19th, 2015|IT Infrastructure, Managed Services|

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