So why hang on to Windows Server 2003?
Despite the disadvantages of persisting with an outdated server OS and the benefits of adopting a modern platform, some organisations are still resistant to move away from Windows Server 2003. In fact, 60 percent of Spiceworks' customers in the Asia Pacific region were still running at least one instance of Windows Server 2003 as of March 2015.
Simon Piff, Associate Vice President, Enterprise Infrastructure, IDC Asia/Pacific attributed this resistance to the misconceptions that migrations will be too costly an exercise. "However, delaying migration may incur greater costs in the long run, with downtime associated with security or compliance risks, more resources being used to support outdated servers or creating workaround solutions," he said.
The complexities of a major migration could also factor as a reason for organisations to not migrate. Chuah explained, "Since large organisations with sophisticated data centres have many servers running on different OS, it takes significant effort to map which applications are running on which servers, and how many of those are running on Windows Server 2003. Thereafter, IT departments have to plan which critical workloads to migrate first, as well as whether the new OS is compatible with current applications and other existing servers. All these have to be done while maintaining operational readiness, which can be daunting for even the most equipped IT teams."
He added, "The migration process involves many steps that could include virtualisation optimisation, cloud adoption, Active Directory clean-up, and server and storage updates. During this process, corporations need to find a way to detect and migrate applications from the old OS to the new one. Occasionally, the IT team is faced with the challenge of detecting and migrating applications that are missing source media or original configuration information. Certain 32-bit applications running may also face compatibility issues when migrating to a newer 64-bit environment, especially security applications and system utilities. IT teams also need to deal with software licensing optimisation."
Overcoming the barriers of migration
To overcome and/or avoid the complexities of migration, Chuah advised IT teams to adopt a "phased approach that respects and accommodates business and organisational priorities" for the migration process. To do so, they should:
- Make the necessary preparations for application and data migration by coordinating schedules and all of the tasks that different IT and business functions need to complete;
- Configure targets, deploy the applications and migrate the data using the right automation for each disposition; and
- Reduce complications by testing applications in the destination environment before migrating.
For further guidance on the migration process, organisations could refer to Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 end of support website, the Migration Planning Assistant, or consult Microsoft's partners such as Dell.
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