Preparing for Windows Server 2008 migration

Windows Server 2008 is available, but are you ready for it? Use this checklist to learn how IT shops can prepare for their Windows Server 2008 migration.

The wait is over. Windows Server 2008 is available, but are you ready for it?

Touted as the most advanced Windows Server operating system yet, Windows Server 2008 lists improvements to Active Directory, Group Policy, Terminal Services, and Server Manager, to name a few.

Although IT managers are expected to move slowly when it comes to migrating to Windows Server 2008, as shown in the chart below, it's never too early to start getting ready for the eventual OS upgrade.

Chart: Almost half of IT managers in Windows shops have no plans to migrate to Windows Server 2008

Source: 2007 Purchasing Intentions Survey, October 2007)

Here is a checklist how Windows shops can prepare for their Windows Server 2008 migration:

  1. Find a business value for the Windows Server 2008 migration
  2. Determine the cost of Windows Server 2008 migration
  3. Time the Windows Server 2008 migration
  4. Build a test lab before migrating to Windows Server 2008

Step 1: Find a business value for the Windows Server 2008 migration
When preparing to upgrade to Windows Server 2008, the first thing any IT manager must do is prove to upper management that an upgrade is necessary. Although some IT shops have already tested a beta version of Microsoft's newest operating system, others are still trying to figure out how to justify a major OS migration.

Take a look at how some of the new features of Windows Server 2008 translate into added enterprise value in ways that will make upper management take notice.

Step 2: Determine the cost of Windows Server 2008 migration

Identifying the potential value of new Windows Server 2008 features should get the attention of upper management. But to make the business case for migration, IT managers should also provide a return on investment analysis for a server upgrade.

Don't know where to start? Not to worry -- Microsoft MVP Gary Olsen shares several points IT managers can use to ensure their ROI is not only clear but also accurate and realistic. Olsen examines an aspect of ROI calculation that many IT managers may not think of -- new income. Detailing how the features of Microsoft's newest operating system could increase income and save money will certainly strengthen your business case.

Step 3: Time your Windows Server 2008 migration
If everyone is on board with moving to Windows Server 2008, now comes the time to figure out when to migrate.

Every IT manager knows that upgrading to a new version of Windows comes with inherent risks. There are always undiscovered bugs in any software product. Over time, those bugs are flushed out and fixed. The later you migrate, the safer you are -- but then you don't get the benefits of the new features either.

So when should you schedule the migration? Find out about the factors you need to consider to make sure that the timing of your Windows Server 2008 migration will offer the biggest advantages to your business.

Step 4: Build a virtual test lab before migrating to Windows Server 2008

Completed your ROI analysis and time line? There's only one more step to ensure your Windows shop is for adequately prepared for Windows Server 2008 migration. And that's to build a Windows Server 2008 virtual test lab.

Some IT shops may have experience building a test lab for Windows Server 2003 features, but beware. Windows Server expert Russell Olsen points out distinct differences between Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003 that need to be considered. Keeping these differences in mind while creating a simple and affordable virtual test lab will help IT managers ease the Windows Server 2008 migration process.

Want more information? Visit our Windows Server 2008 site.

This was first published in February 2008

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