Support for Microsoft Windows Server for 2003 is ending in the next few months. It is time for organizations to start considering the migration to Windows Server 2012 which will be supported for many years to come. However, this migration should be done with careful consideration. It is not simply a matter of installing the OS and walking away.
Any one that has been in IT knows that a migration takes careful consideration and planning. This is not the exception with the migration from 2003 to 2012. If you just start throwing up Windows 2012 Servers and moving stuff without planning, then you are asking for problems later on down the road.
The first thing you need to do is sit down and take an inventory of all your server running Windows 2003. Take some time to chart out the applications and roles that each of these servers provide. This may sound like a simple task, but it can be cumbersome to organizations that have hundreds of servers they manage. And, it can be increasingly difficult if an inventory has not been maintained over time. This can make the fast approaching deadline seem even more stressful.
If you do not feel like you have time to take an accurate assessment prior to upgrading, then you may consider hiring professionals to help with this step. It is important to get this step right because if you overlook just one server it can derail the entire migration to 2012 a nightmare.
After you have taken careful stock of the servers in the environment, you will want to assess what programs are running on the different servers. You will want to make sure that the applications are compatible with Windows 2012 or a newer version is available that is compatible. This is important to understand at the beginning because it determine if you may have to go with newer software or come up with some other solution. Another good idea is to include key people responsible for that software in your migration plan. They may be able to provide key insight that you were not aware of regarding the application.
You only have one opportunity to get the migration from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 correct. It is important to develop a detailed plan that allows for many contingencies. In order to take advantage of all the different features of a Windows 2012 domain, you need to make sure you remove any traces of Windows Server 2003 from the network. But, this is not a process that you want to rush into because there are so many moving parts.