Choosing the right migration strategy for Windows Server 2003

Rajesh Dhar Sr Director TS HPE India

By Rajesh Dhar, Senior Director, Technology Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise India

Despite the end of all support for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (WS2003)on July 14, 2015,we still saw many companies delaying or struggling to make the transition after the deadline. In fact, more than 600,000 web-facing computers, which together host millions of websites, were still running the OS even after support had ended according to a survey by Netcraft in August 2015.For some businesses, the lack of in-house IT support has led to this inertia; for others it’s the lack of IT budget and an “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.

Whatever the reason, many businesses have been taking advantage of the cloud to increase business value and stave off the risks of running servers that have become increasingly easy targets for hackers and malware. Whether it was migrating workloads to on premise infrastructure, to the cloud or to a hybrid infrastructure, here are some of the best practices that we have seen.

Many organizations saw the WS2003 end of support (EOS) as an opportunity to step back and reassess their IT strategy and make some key decisions that will future-proof their IT infrastructure and position their business to be the most competitive in the future. They started by taking inventory not just of the major application workloads, but also of every piece of IT infrastructure, to understand the interrelationships and how applications are used.

For example, there may be a decade-old-plus custom application that is now difficult to use due to evolution in the company’s business. Often, recoding or modernizing code using newer servers, OS and tools can greatly increase the business value of the applications. Other opportunities enabled by an EOS migration include:

Enhancing security. The elimination of “hot fixes” for WS2003 puts infrastructure and customer data at risk to hackers and malware
Increased business agility, by utilizing IT infrastructure that is easier to manage and that allows the business to respond more quickly to change.
Accelerating IT innovation by investing in future technologies such as cloud that allow customers to interact more efficiently while allowing employees and partners to be more productive

Then there’s mobility. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is powered by users who want any device, any time access to business applications.Migrating to a new infrastructure can greatly simplify integration with the growing number of tablets, smartphones, and laptops that users and clients increasingly rely on. Migrating to a new hybrid infrastructure with an on premise server is an excellent opportunity to address the growing need for mobility in your industry and within your company, and address this growing business demand and the security implications that result from a forward-thinking strategy.

Migrating to newer platforms also reduced costs, allowing businesses to consolidate hardware that is no longer in use, virtualize, and take advantage of newer, more efficient systems to reduce the management costs that go along with managing low usage servers.Additionally, savings in OS, license, power, and cooling costs were realized.

As part of the overall assessment, businesses had to evaluate if any workloads would make sense to migrate from WS2003 to private, public or hybrid cloud environments. For example, some organizations opted to host applications that rely heavily on mobile or remote users, taking advantage of hosting partner bandwidth and moving that traffic off of the local network. Other workloads may be destined to stay on-premises for the long haul, such as those that store sensitive financial or health-related information.

Choosing the right migration strategy and future state is critical. Modern servers offer trusted industry standards, support for all the major hypervisors like Hyper-V, and performance designed to accommodate the IT infrastructure demands of today – and tomorrow. Plus, as business needs change, it’s simple to support growth in a hybrid environment by moving selected workloads (or new users) to the Cloud. And it’s equally straightforward to scale on premise when you can utilize tools that help growing businesses balance workloads amongst multiple servers to deliver higher availability and better performance.

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