Migration Essentials

Set Goals and Benefits for Your Windows Server 2012 Upgrade

Contributing Writer
Data Center

Attempting to move to Microsoft Windows Server 2012 from Windows Server 2003 without clear goals and benefits in mind can be a costly mistake. Lenovo offers the following best practice recommendations to optimize your server migration.

Begin by establishing a clear set of benefits and improvement goals that define the need for migration before you start. Even though any one of the benefits can far outweigh the migration cost, you should have your benefit plan in before you begin. Most frequently cited benefits of migration include:

  • Reduced operational costs from reduced power usage, improved density, and simpler system management
  • Reduction in the number of servers needed for a set of workloads because more workloads can be supported on a newer server
  • Increased utilization of newer hardware and software through virtualization
  • Improved employee productivity through support for new devices and enhanced mobility
  • Increased business agility and scalability to support business growth cycles
  • Ability to implement new and cost-effective backup, recovery, and business continuity solutions

You’re probably clear on why you are migrating, but make sure the rest of your organization is also clear. Also recognize that you likely can’t use the old server hardware. Today’s tower and rack-mount servers offer a quicker ROI than their predecessors thanks to their ability to handle more workload per IT dollar.

Migrating to new platforms involves many moving parts, including Active Directory, IP network servers, policies, validated application stacks, and many different file types. Start with the Microsoft migration tools that help you move roles and features from your previous Windows Server deployment to your new Windows Server 2012 system. But make sure you’re not trying to migrate from a server that has multiple roles – in that case you’ll need to manually handle the transition.

Virtualizing your environment is a key step in enhancing the reliability of your servers, and if you have a number of active Windows Server 2003 systems today that aren’t virtualized, you’ve probably got candidates waiting to gain the benefits that virtualization offers. Legacy Windows Server 2003 physcial servers that need to be independent or remain physical can benefit from virtualizing on new hardware with Windows Server 2012.

With an increasingly mobile workforce utilizing an ever-growing array of devices for personal productivity, it’s no surprise users are demanding access to corporate data, applications, and websites from outside the firewall. Rather than managing the complexities of a Virtual Private Network (VPN), with Windows Server 2012 you can offer remote users secure, simple access to intranets, file shares, websites, and applications with DirectAccess, a feature not available on Windows Server 2003.

Leverage Windows Server 2012 to provide access to a centralized virtual desktop from diverse mobile device types, and you should also virtualize storage to save money. Windows Server 2012 includes a trio of integrated tools that can help prevent downtime in the event of a disaster, so make sure you’re including them in your migration. Fine-tune your WAN connections, and leverage Windows Server 2012’s Branch Cache option to accelerate data transfers between sites by caching frequently accessed data at remote sites.

As you migrate to Windows Server 2012, think about your cloud strategy. Developing with tools such as Visual Studio and the .NET Framework will allow you the option of deploying your workloads either in Windows Azure or on-premises.

Make sure you choose servers that meet your migration demands. To fully realize the ROI possible from server migration, servers need to deliver unmatched performance and capacity. Lenovo’s workload hungry, budget friendly ThinkServer platforms have consistently scored at the top of performance ratings as validated by third-party organizations. They also offer industry-standard system management interfaces that enable streamlined management without requiring any proprietary server management tools.

For more detailed information on these recommendations, download the Lenovo white paper, Best Practices for Server Migration with Windows Server 2012.

With the end of support date for Windows Server 2003 fast approaching, there’s never been a better time to plan your data center transformation. Our experts have designed this helpful tool to get you started on the right upgrade path for your unique environment, applications, and workloads.