Developing a Migration Plan for
Windows Server 2008, Part 1

Windows Server 2008 logo with a semi-transparent red circle and line over itAlthough a variety of factors go into the migration decision-making process, most firms will arrive at one of a few prominent options.

Developing a server migration plan for your firm can seem like a daunting task, but although the process is important most firms will arrive at one of several popular options: Off-siting existing servers to large cloud hosts, off-siting them to other third-party hosts, or delegating server upgrades to an on-site IT staff. Last week’s article laid out four basic factors to base decision-making on – security, cost, compatibility, and long-term migration goals.

The graphic below expands on those four factors with some general questions that are applicable for most firms that rely on existing servers. From a security standpoint, firms should consider both the migration of existing data and handling existing legacy servers: Migrating to new, secure servers is only beneficial if old data is properly erased and destroyed. From the cost perspective, decision-makers should keep three cost horizons in mind: Immediate costs for implementing the plan, short-term costs over three years (roughly the period of time that Windows Server 2008 can still be maintained), and long-term costs. It’s critical to factor in secondary costs as well, such as software training costs for on-site IT personnel and possible lost productivity or downtime during the migration process.

From a compatibility standpoint, most firms only need to answer two binary questions: Do we rely on legacy server software for mission-critical applications, and do we need a solution with a high degree of scalability? For firms that answer “yes” to the first question, migration to newer servers is not a viable short-term option. For firms that anticipate a need for highly scalable solutions, on-site servers are unlikely to be an effective long-term solution.

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After determining the various security, cost, and compatibility questions, decision-makers are better positioned to address the fourth factor, the shape of the overall migration plan. What are the various goals and expectations regarding migration, considering the other factors, and what will a successful migration solution look like at your firm during implementation? During the three years following migration? After that?

In the next part of our series, we’ll examine the nuts and bolts of security and cost concerns, and how to make the best security and cost decisions based on your firm’s specific characteristics, needs, and long-term plans.

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