For large enterprises and small businesses alike, migrating to Windows Server 2012 before Microsoft ends support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015 requires strategy and the right amount of planning. Avoiding downtime during the migration process is the number one priority for IT. Thankfully there are plenty of resources out there that offer guidance on making the transition to cloud-enabled server hardware as smooth as possible. Here are five that are especially helpful for planning and executing your Windows Server 2012 migration.
Test drive a full version of Windows Server 2012 free
The best way to learn new software is through a hands-on experience. Microsoft grants users a 180 day free trial of new Windows Server software, which is great for letting you get a feel for some of the new features, as well as helping you get a migration plan together. For most users, this should be the first step in migration. Download the trial version of Windows Server 2012 R2.
Plan your Windows Server 2003 migration route
This simple four step planning tool helps analyze workloads and migration needs. After the final step you are presented a range of hardware and application solutions available from Microsoft partner vendors. It is a good way to window shop, though you will not be able to purchase anything from this site. Pro tip: Open up NeweggBusiness.com in a separate browser tab to search for further product information and pricing as you are using this tool. Use the Windows Server 2003 Migration Planning Assistant.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials migration by the book
Microsoft understands that many small business owners take a DIY approach to server management, which is why Microsoft has posted step-by-step instructions for migrating data and services to Server 2012 Essentials (Small Business Server) from older versions of the software. Find your starting point and choose your destination, and Microsoft guides you along the way from end to end. Think of these as IKEA instructions for server migration. Read instructions from Microsoft.
Read the free white papers on the topic
The tech community started circling their wagons about a year ago in anticipation of Windows Server 2003 EOS and published several solid white papers that offer best practices and tips for the smoothest migration possible. The common theme throughout these papers touch on a mental approach, that companies should view this as an opportunity rather than an obligation. They probably could sense the fear and loathing that comes with having to migrate critical data resources and mothballing legacy hardware. Each of these are worth at least a skim–and did we mention they are free?
- Frost & Sullivan: Five Things You Need to Know About Migrating from Windows Server 2003
- IDC: Why You Should Get Current
- Gartner: Evolve Your Servers
Watch Eli Etherton’s Everyman IT Windows Server 2012 track
This series of YouTube videos are directed at IT pros looking to learn the ins and out of Windows Server 2012, but Eli “the Computer Guy” Etherton breaks down concepts in a way that DIY SMB tech enthusiasts can grasp. Etherton has been managing servers and hardware since the Windows NT heyday, which gives him extensive authority on the subject, and all of his classes are free to the public. If you have the time to invest–there are 22 videos in the series, each in the 20-30 minute range–this presents an opportunity to brush up on Windows Server 2012 as well as and server computing in general. View Eli the Computer Guy’s Windows Server 2012 series.
Let us know! What are some resources you are looking to for tackling Windows Server 2003 EOS and Windows Server 2012 migration?