4 reasons to quit hanging onto Windows Server 2003

Win2k3Windows Server 2003’s end of life is less than 90 days away, and July 14 (the last day of support) is quickly approaching. Many organizations, seemingly hesitant to undergo a full migration, still haven’t even begun to plan the move from Win2k3.

C-suite executives and IT professionals are asking the same questions about the status of Windows Server 2003 starting July 15: What will happen to my network? What will work – and what won’t? Is there a quick fix, or a cheap one? If I’m running business-critical applications that require Windows Server 2003, will they continue working? Will Microsoft extend support, and how much will it cost?

We’re going to answer all of these questions in an upcoming Win2k3 webinar for enterprises, education institutions, and government agencies that will illustrate what’s at stake and why every organization should begin their migration immediately if they haven’t already. Suffice it to say, Windows Server 2003’s end of life can pose serious problems for organizations of all sizes, and postponing a migration could be extremely expensive.

Before we delve into these issues in the webinar, here are four reasons why all organizations should be planning a migration, and why it’s time move past Windows Server 2003. Continue Reading…

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The 2 most important considerations in server migration

Win2k3Workloads are your company’s lifeblood. Physical servers, virtual machines (VMs), or a combination of both are running Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, and various other applications. Inevitably the time will come to migrate these workloads to different hardware or VMs.

For organizations running Microsoft Windows 2003, that time is coming soon. These companies will need to migrate those servers to a new operating system before Microsoft ends support in July of this year. Migrating workloads from one server to another can be difficult, whether from one version of an operating system on a physical server to a newer version on a physical server, from a physical server to a virtual server, or from one hypervisor platform to another.  Application and version compatibility issues, network connectivity, and authentication and security problems can present challenges during a migration. Many organizations conducting a migration experience one of these situations; a recent survey conducted by IDC found 48 percent of companies run both physical and virtualized servers, and 54 percent of companies run more than one hypervisor in their environment.

This is especially true when moving a production workload to a new OS environment when it is intimately linked to the current environment. The two most critical steps in every migration are effectively backing up a full log of the data, and using the right tools to conduct the actual migration. Full image backups ensure all data – content and application settings, for example – can safely be migrated, and universal migration tools can simplify the actual process so it’s as easy as it is effective.

If done incorrectly, organizations can lose data, extend downtime, miss revenue opportunities, and adversely affect customer service perceptions – not to mention the long, hectic extra hours it takes to fix the problem. Continue Reading…

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8 factors to consider when migrating from Windows Server 2003 to Office 365

Win2k3The retirement of Windows Server 2003 is closer than many think. If you haven’t started planning for your migration yet, now’s the time. For both those yet to start and those already underway, we’ve been presenting the options for migration from Win2k3, including Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Azure. In this final post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about licensing Office 365 (O365), Microsoft’s cloud solution.

O365 provides a number of flexible and cost-effective licensing and purchasing options for migrating Exchange and/or SharePoint to Microsoft’s SaaS offering. If you’re evaluating Office 365, ask yourself the following eight questions in order to make an informed decision on your strategy moving forward. Continue Reading…

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3 licensing options for migrating to Microsoft Azure from Windows Server 2003

Win2k3Where will your organization go when Microsoft ends support for Windows Server 2003? Many organizations are formulating an answer to that question right now, preparing to meet the July 14, 2015 deadline. The myriad licensing models, program options, and cost scenarios for a Win2k3 migration make it a daunting task involving multiple decision points.

The top three options for migration are Windows Server 2012, Office 365, and Microsoft Azure, which will be the focus of this post.

Microsoft Azure is an option that can be implemented as an alternative to or in conjunction with an on-premises migration to Windows Server 2012. Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provides organizations with a flexible cloud computing platform to build, deploy, and manage applications in a predictable operational expense model based on consumption. Microsoft Azure enables organizations to make an initial monetary commitment based on anticipated usage and future growth.

The most cost effective means to procure and manage Azure is through the Enterprise Agreement (EA) program. Here are three options for organizations looking to procure Azure under an EA model. Continue Reading…

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Is converged infrastructure the answer to Windows Server 2003 migration?

Win2k3As their responsibilities multiply, IT professionals can add another line to their resumes: multi-tasking to an extreme. IT’s workload balloons with company growth as servers and networks expand in size, volume licensing becomes increasingly complicated, and complex silos of information swell. Yet administrators must maintain optimal speed and storage, often on a shoe-string budget.

And now many IT professionals are also planning for Windows Server 2003’s end of support. The clock is ticking, and they must consider a number of factors for the migration, including hardware upgrades, software licensing, and whether current applications and systems will still function as needed after the migration.

In an effort to manage their Windows Server 2003 migration, lower costs, and condense their IT footprint, some organizations are investing in converged infrastructure (CI) solutions. Converting to CI offers a number of advantages for small to medium-sized organizations, as it frees up IT teams to more effectively manage software and hardware systems, especially as Windows Server 2003 approaches end of life. Continue Reading…

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Migrating to Windows Server 2012 after the retirement of Win2k3? Read this first.

Win2k3Organizations should be starting to plan their move off of Windows Server 2003 in anticipation of its end of support on July 14, 2015. As they evaluate their options, a key decision will be identifying the migration destination for applications and workloads.

Microsoft has three target migration destinations: Windows Server 2012, Microsoft Azure, and Office 365. Each target destination will have various licensing implications and costs that need to be examined as part of the overall migration process.

We’ll cover all of these options in a three-part series on licensing considerations for Windows Server 2003 migrations, starting now with Windows Server 2012 — a logical choice if you’re looking to simply upgrade your systems. Read on to learn more about the Windows Server 2012 migration option, including its virtual environment rights and other key licensing considerations. Continue Reading…

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How to prepare for the end of Windows Server 2003

Win2k3After a long and productive life, Windows Server 2003 will soon be retired. Effective July 14, 2015, Microsoft will no longer provide hot fixes, security patches, and updates for Win2k3 and its millions of users.

If we learned anything from Microsoft’s discontinued support for Windows XP in 2014, it’s that organizations should be preparing now. A Windows Server 2003 migration will require your organization to coordinate technical, strategic, and business decisions affecting the backbone of your network software, and failure to migrate before the deadline could threaten your network security and regulatory compliance.

To help you get started — or to add to your already-growing checklist — here are six areas organizations will need to investigate before migrating off of Windows Server 2003: Continue Reading…

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