Almost everything is at risk now that updates and support for Windows Server 2003 has ceased. All existing instances are vulnerable. Making the move to Windows Server 2012 is not just a necessity; it’s well worth the investment in time and finances. But make certain you take these three steps first to ensure you end up with positive results.
If you feel like Microsoft has handed you a bunch of lemons with the retirement of the tried and true workhorse Windows 2003 has proven to be, think again. We believe, and have seen firsthand, that you can turn the whole thing into some fantastic lemonade. I’m not asking you to drink the Kool Aid, just take 3 important steps to make the whole transition worthwhile.
Review and evaluate your equipment. You probably already have a good idea of your server inventory, but the devil is in the details. Do you have what you need to decide whether the equipment you’re using can handle the upgrades? And, if so, what kind of performance can you expect once you do install Windows Server 2012? For the most part, the servers running 2003 should be able to run 2012. (Whew.) But, here’s the big caveat….unless the hardware was already legacy equipment at the time Windows Server 2003 was installed. The best bet here is to assume nothing, roll up your sleeves and dig into the specifics of each unit.
For reference, here’s the recommended specs from Microsoft. RAM memory minimum is 2GB (but 8GB is recommended). Hard drive space of 160GB with a 60GB system partition is also required. For current hardware, these specs are bordering on minimalism. But in order to make the best use of virtualization, you should be looking at maximizing the RAM and reviewing the processor running each server. While Microsoft specifies the minimum CPU is a 1.4GHz 64-bit processor, it’s best to assess your plans for virtualization against the installed processors.
Check your current server and hosting environment. There’s plenty of evidence that upgrading from Windows Server 2003 to 2012 makes financial sense. A study by Forrester shows a payback of just six months for the initial expense, and an overall ROI of 270%. From a pure financial overview, the upgrade is an obvious win. But wait, there’s more. With the changes in overall computing environments it may be time to reassess your overall hosting environment to determine whether or how much of your server population should remain in-house. The advantages of hybrid cloud that connect internal hosting with externally hosted services have gained significant ground in popularity and success. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by.
Plan for migration of your workloads. Making the upgrade to Windows Server 2012 is easy enough once you’ve evaluated the first two items here. You’ll skate past a major issue caused by the end-of-life of Windows Server 2003 and likely dodge several security bullets. But the real advantages of upgrading come with utilizing the enhanced features included in Windows Server 2013. You should be able to migrate, consolidate, and otherwise improve your overall server operations.
As always, we have a team of experts on hand at Connection who are dealing with migrations and the nuances each environment might present. Don’t hesitate to call on us, or even if you go it alone, be sure to enjoy the lemonade!