Microsoft Azure Partner Community: migrating to Azure from Windows Server 2003

Nick Johnson - Microsoft US Partner Technology Strategist for Microsoft Azureby Nick Johnson, PMP – Partner Technology Strategist for Microsoft Azure

The Microsoft Azure Partner Community is led by National Partner Technology Strategists from the Microsoft US Partner Team. Partner Community activities include blog posts, discussions on Yammer, newsletters, and community calls.


This is part 2 of our series about migrating servers and server applications to Microsoft Azure. Read part 1 of the series here.

Migrating to Azure from Windows Server 2003

It’s time for some not-so-breaking news. Windows Server 2003 support is ending on July 14, 2015. As of the date of this post, that is 245 days away. Factor in holidays and weekends, and there is not a lot of working time left. Are you ready to help your customers move off of Windows Server 2003?

We have many resources available to partners that will prepare you to help your customers. Let’s take a closer look at these resources with a four-step process in mind: discover, assess, target, and migrate.

Step 1 – Discover

Start by making a list of the servers that are running Windows Server 2003. Don’t forget to note for each whether it is running the 32-bit or 64-bit version, as that will come in handy later.

Here are four tools that will help you with the discovery step:

Windows Server 2003 Migration Planning Assistant

This four step process helps you to analyze your Windows Server 2003 workloads and generate a summary report showing recommendations and relevant Microsoft partner offerings.

Windows Server 2003 Roles Migration Process

This one page graphical chart can help you throughout the Server 2003 migration process.

Microsoft Assessment Planning Toolkit

Assesses your current IT infrastructure for migration. Provides inventory, assessment, and reporting tool to simplify the migration planning process.

Windows Server 2003 End of Support: Infrastructure Migration

This presentation and demo from TechEd 2014 gives an overview of the opportunity and the process.

Step 2 – Assess

Now that you have your list, it is time to answer these three questions for each server:

  1. What is the server doing today?
  2. Is what the server is doing critical, or can it be retired?
  3. Is the server running an application that can be upgraded to run on a more modern version of Windows or as a SaaS application?

To make the assessments, there are several tools from Microsoft and third-party providers that can help. I haven’t had the chance to review all of these, but I encourage you to check them out and see if they address your needs.

Microsoft Assessment Planning Toolkit

Assesses your current IT infrastructure for migration. Provides inventory, assessment, and reporting tools that simplify the migration planning process.

Cloud App Discovery

Discovers cloud applications being used in a customer’s environment.

Azure Virtual Machine Readiness Assessment

Automatically inspects your on-premises environment, both physical or virtualized. Provides a check list and detailed report on steps to move your environment to the cloud.

AppZero PACE

Streamlines migrations by discovering apps and app components from machines in production, and pre-populating VAAs with static application artifacts from source machines while the apps are still in production.

BlueStripe FactFinder

Identifies all the applications and transactions that run across a server, including front-end connections and back-end dependencies, failed connections, and performance metrics.

Citrix AppDNA

Discovers, automates, models and manages applications for faster application migration, easier application virtualization and streamlined application management.

Dell ChangeBASE

Automates application testing, remediation, packaging, and virtualization to reduce risk during migrations. Provides complete application inventory and accelerates deployments to new platforms.

HP Universal Discovery

Provides application dependency mapping, inventory, and real-time discovery in one product.

Lakeside Software SysTrack

Discovers Windows Server feature and role configurations and inventory, software inventory, and hardware configuration. Identifies application dependencies, usage, and demand.

Step 3 – Target

Now that you’ve assessed the servers and applications, it is time to determine what to do with each of them. We call this setting a target. As shown below, you may have different targets for the various workloads.


This is where knowing whether apps and servers are 32-bit or 64-bit comes into play. A Windows Server 2003 64-bit could, hardware permitting, be upgraded in-place to Windows Server 2008 and then to Windows Server 2012. A 32-bit OS can only go as far as Windows Server 2008. To go to Windows Server 2012, you have to plan to migrate the applications vs. doing an in-place upgrade.

While setting the target for your servers and apps, consider migrating them to run on Microsoft Azure. You may be able to run a Virtual Machine to host the workload, or you may be able to migrate the app to run as a Software as a Service app (we’ll cover this topic in an upcoming post). If the physical server needs to be replaced, Azure can be a cost-effective replacement when you consider the price of new hardware and the speed of deployment.

During this step the list of servers to migrate may grow to be quite large. In this case there are two things that can help. One, assign a priority to each workload. Two, remember that on Azure you can spin up a virtual machine in minutes. There is no time spent procuring hardware, waiting for shipment, installing it, installing and patching the OS, etc. So if you need to move fast, Azure VMs are a great option. Oh, and don’t forget that if the workload ever needs to move back on premise you can move the Azure VM to Hyper-V very easily.

Here are two tools that may come in useful during the target setting.

Cloudamize Estimator

Projects the TCO for current on-premises or datacenter workloads in a cloud environment and provides correct settings for a new cloud deployment.

Microsoft Azure (IaaS) Cost Estimator Tool

The Azure Cost Estimator Tool will profile VMware/ESX, Virtual Machine Manager, Hyper-V, and physical servers over a period of time, report resource consumption, and align it to resources and VM sizes within Microsoft Azure.

Step 4 – Migrate

Now that you’ve set the targets, it is time to migrate. There are resources and training available to help you with this step.

Azure Websites Migration Assistant

Enables you to deploy and scale Web Apps in seconds by migrating applications to Azure Websites.

IIS Web Deploy

Simplifies deployment of web applications and web sites to IIS servers. Streamlines IIS6/IIS7/IIS8 migration planning by identifying incompatibilities and previewing proposed changes.

Windows Server Migration Tools

Helps customers deploy servers that are running Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2008 R2.

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) provides a unified collection of tools, processes, and guidance for automating desktop and server deployments. In addition to reducing deployment time and standardizing desktop and server images, MDT offers improved security and ongoing configuration management.

Migrating to Windows Server 2012 Training

This course will show you how Windows Server 2012 can ease your transition, not merely in upgrading earlier versions of Windows Server, but also ensuring that your key services can be migrated in an efficient, cost-effective and safe manner.

Partner Practice Enablement: Windows Azure Technical Training

Check out Modules 1 and 2 if you are new to running VMs on Azure.

Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0

If you have machines running on VMWare you can convert those to a Hyper-V and Azure friendly format using this tool.


Identifies, extracts, and moves enterprise Windows server applications to any server – physical or virtual – anywhere (cloud or datacenter) without AppZero software on the source server, and with no change to the source application.

VisionSolutions DoubleTake MOVE

Migrates physical, virtual, and cloud server workloads with real-time replication. Moves your entire server environment including the system state and file system without suspending or interrupting production operations.

Azure Partner Community call on Nov 20 - tileThe fast-approaching end of support for Windows Server 2003 presents opportunities for you to help your customers get current and stay supported. We’ll talk about this topic in depth on our November 20 US Azure Partner Community call. Register today to join us.

Comments (24)
  1. Anonymous says:

    by Nick Johnson, PMP US Partner Technology Strategist for Microsoft Azure The Microsoft Azure Partner

  2. Anonymous says:

    by Nick Johnson, PMP US Partner Technology Strategist for Microsoft Azure The Microsoft Azure Partner

  3. Anonymous says:

    by Nick Johnson, PMP US Partner Technology Strategist for Microsoft Azure The Microsoft Azure Partner

  4. Anonymous says:

    by Prabhat Gupta US Dynamics CRM Industry Architect   by Dave Manion US Dynamics CRM Industry Architect

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