Best Practices for Windows Server 2003 End-of-Support Migration: Part 3

So we’re back with our 3rd blog post in our Windows Server 2003 EOS Migration Best Practices series.  Today we’re going to be reviewing useful tools and solutions that can help you execute the Discovery phase of your migration. 

Now, while the Discovery exercise is great opportunity to ensure that you thoroughly ‘reconnect’ with your datacenter, it can also turn into an overwhelming process.  Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of adding to datacenter clutter, spinning up a couple VMs here, installing some new applications there… you’re going to most likely find more than you bargained for <<big sigh>> you’re going to be fine, because you’re about to embark on your datacenter discovery!  

Good news for you, there are numerous tools to assist during the Discovery phase, so you can easily identify all ‘instances’ of Windows Server 2003.  In addition, you’ll be able to focus on identifying the applications, workloads, and databases that are going to need a new, secure, and compliant home come July 14, 2015. 

Time is ticking, and so if you haven’t already started this process today, let me remind you of the following: 

Important Reminder in Official Language:  Only Microsoft can offer support for Microsoft Products.  Continuing to run applications on Windows Server 2003 EOS post July 14, 2015 (under 300 days remaining!) will only result in spending more time and energy trying to support an OS that will not meet security and compliance requirements.   Continuing to run Windows Server 2003 in any capacity (Virtualized or Physical) after July 14, 2015 means that your applications are vulnerable because they are not receiving security updates and patches, your servers will likely fail compliance audits.

So now that you’re ready to kick-off the migration process with Discovery, let’s review some of the tools and services that you can use to get a clear line of sight as to what applications are impacted: 

Microsoft Planning Toolkit

Many of you might already know about the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit, or MAP as it is referred to by many.  Here is why MAP will be useful for you:

  • It’s a Free, Agentless, and Automated, Multi-Product Discovery tool that can assist with streamlining the Discovery process
  • It’s easy to download and it produces a detailed readiness assessment report
  • It generates executive proposals that include an extensive list of hardware and software information
  • It provides you with actionable recommendations to help you organize your planning process

MAP  v9.1 will provide you with a complete list of the number of Windows Server 2003 instances, the number of applications running upon those instances, as well as the databases attached. 

Partner Tools

There are several good partner solutions available with a free trial or for purchase.  For example, Dell offers Dell Asset Manager Discovery Edition that effectively identifies and categorizes more than 85% of all software without manual intervention.  Do you also think that you have Active Directory running on Windows Server 2003?  Dell ChangeAuditor takes Discovery a bit further and assists you with identifying systems that require connectivity to Active Directory during and after migration.  

Consulting Services

If you’re feeling as though you’d like some assistance with the Discovery phase, then you’ll be pleased to know that there are numerous professional services options.  Microsoft Consulting Services currently offers a Discovery and Rationalization Workshop designed to assist with completing a thorough Discovery and rationalization of the applications that must be moved. 

Microsoft’s Global Partner Ecosystem

Microsoft’s global partner ecosystem has special offerings for businesses of all sizes – including workshops, tools, and professional services to assist with all phases of migration, spanning infrastructure for hybrid cloud alternatives all the way to custom application development and managed services. 

Regardless of the path you take to complete your discovery, it is critical that you remember the goal is to not just locate and identify the Windows Server 2003 instances, but the applications that are running on them.  You will itemize the number of applications, databases, workloads, as well as the OS that supports them.  A thoughtful approach to executing this phase with due diligence helps you to enter the next phase of Migration Planning – Assessment – with a complete understanding of the effort required. 

Microsoft and our partners are ready to support you during this Discovery phase.  Take a look at the locally available tools and solutions available to you today by visiting the Microsoft Migration Planning Assistant.   Or visit the Microsoft Pinpoint site to find certified partners with the right competencies and services to help assess your options for a successful Windows Server 2003 migration. 

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