Although it was nearly 15 years ago, many people still remember the hysteria surrounding Y2K. Enormous resources were devoted to ensuring that systems continued to operate when the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve 2000.
There’s a similar event on the horizon next year but it isn’t generating nearly the same buzz. On July 15, 2015, Windows Server 2003 will reach end of life. That means no more updates, no compliance to many PCI standards, and no safe haven for your physical or virtual servers.
Three out of four Fortune 5000 companies use Windows 2003 servers, but only 25% say they have a remediation plan in place. It generally takes 200 days for server migration and about 300 days to migrate applications. With about 450 days to go to EOL, now is the time to act.
Although change can be painful, this may be one time when there’s a silver lining. Moving from Windows Server 2003 presents an opportunity to begin leveraging the benefits of the Cloud for your IT Operation. Microsoft helps make the transition easier if you take advantage of their Azure Cloud. Here are four steps to a successful migration plan.
Before you decide what to do, conduct a full discovery process to determine what you have for an IT infrastructure. That may seem obvious, but there are many cases where IT managers aren’t fully aware of how their operation has spread over the years. Catalogue your software library and workload. This is where you need to start thinking about what you’re moving, where you’re moving, and what tools you’ll need to get there. There are resources out there from Microsoft and Microsoft partners to help you do a complete systems and applications inventory.
Once you determine what you have, categorize both your applications and workload. You can define them by type (roles, MS applications, custom applications, third party applications), by criticality (mission critical, important, marginal, can be retired), or by complexity/risk (low, medium, high). The next step is to decide which ones you need to keep. These become the focus of your migration plan.
Next evaluate possible destinations for your systems and applications. This is where new technologies come into play. You can migrate everything to Windows Server 2012, or you can begin using Azure to take some of your apps and systems into the Cloud. The advantages of the Cloud are well known by now – you pay only for what you use, you save on capex, and you’re able to rapidly scale to meet customer demands.
If you decide you don’t want everything in the Cloud, you can adopt a hybrid model where some apps go to Azure and some stay on-premises or in a virtual environment. Conduct a cost/benefit analysis to determine the best solution for your business.
You’ve made your decision and are now ready to begin the actual migration. You can attempt to do it yourself, although that may be a more complex path than you want to take. A more effective method might be to use Microsoft or a Microsoft partner who has the experience and tools to handle the migration more effectively and with less disruption or risk to your business.
Change is never easy but using the opportunity to upgrade your system efficiency while lowering costs can make things less painful. This may be the right time for you to make a move to the Cloud. The deadline is looming so regardless of what you decide, the time to start planning is now.