Windows Server 2003 End Of Support Part 2 – Assess

In an earlier post I introduced the Discover stage for Windows Server 2003 migration projects, and today I will move on to the second stage, which is assessing your customer's software inventory to determine what your next steps should be. Hopefully you don't find too many surprises with existing clients, but new clients, or unmanaged clients can definitely present some unexpected results. I'll assume that you have run the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit already, and you know what you are facing inside of the customer. The image below gives a high level overview, let's drill in to a few specifics.

Microsoft recommends categorising the applications and workloads in four ways...

•By type: Microsoft Server Roles, Microsoft Applications, Custom Applications, and Third-party Applications
•By criticality: Can Be Retired, Marginal, Important, and Mission Critical
•By complexity: Low, Medium, and High
•By risk: Low, Medium, and High
Once you have performed this categorisation,you start to get a better understanding of the scope of the work that you need to perform for the customer, and should identify the easiest and the most challenging elements you will need to face. What you want to avoid with the categorisation is for the customer to identify everything as mission critical, for example, without giving them a ranking, so work with your customer to get a good plan together that you are both comfortable you can work towards.
For many SMBs still running Windows Server 2003, there are probably a few workloads we can expect to see here, and they will be Active Directory, File and Print, SQL Server instances and some Exchange 2003. A quick note on Exchange 2003 is that has already reached end of support, so customers who think that their SBS 2003 environment is supported until July 2015 need to be made aware that they are running a non-supported email system.
An important piece of this stage is to identify who has responsibility for the different workload migrations. You may be responsible for Exchange, File And Print, and Active Directory, but the ISV may be responsible for the Line of Business application that runs on top of SQL Server. Ensure that all parties that are nominated as owners are aware that they have been nominated, and that they can meet the timeline requirements that you want to work towards.
In the next post of the series, we will move on to targeting where the workload will move to. You probably already have an idea of what your plans are already, but there might be some options you aren't aware of, or haven't considered yet, that could be right for this particular customer. Stay tuned, that post will be up shortly.

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