In addition to upgrading the infrastructure, organizations must also confront the challenge of updating the applications that run on these servers. In particular, Windows 2003 was a 32-bit OS, meaning that any applications that need to be carried forward must be checked to see if they can run in the 64-bit environment of the newer Windows Servers. For commercially supported software, this isn't so much of a problem, but it can be an issue for home-grown applications. Microsoft itself offers an assessment toolkit to help determine the amount of work that needs to be done, and Dell offers the ChangeBase software to pinpoint compatibility issues.
"We see a lot of organizations looking at their legacy applications and asking if they want to still run them on prem, or if they can be run in the cloud," Tweedle said.
Many organizations that are migrating from Windows Server 2003 are indeed using the opportunity to modernize other aspects of their operations as well, agreed Alan West, President and CEO of XMS Solutions, a Dell channel partner specializing in migration services.
For instance, XMS was contacted by a Midwestern U.S. health care firm to help update two machines running Windows Server 2003, which it inherited when it acquired another company. When XMS started looking at the company's infrastructure, it had found that the organization was also managing 8,000 workstations controlled by legacy Novell servers. The upgrade also provided the opportunity for the organization to move these users over to the newer Active Directory registry, and move users from Novell's GroupWise collaboration software to Office365, West said.
"Basically, what started as a relatively small migration has turned to into a fantastic opportunity for the health care institute to join us in the 21st century," West said.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.