As time and technology progresses, system administrators find themselves patching software, fixinghardware, installing upgrades, all to avoid the inevitable: THE UPGRADE. This will make managementcringe at the expense, users moan that their work day might be disrupted, and system administrators wipe thesweat from their brows realizing their existence for the next 3 to 6 months will be secure.This guide will provide information and tips on Windows 2003 Server upgrades and migrations to include:
ApplicationsWhile this is not a definitive guide on the subject of Windows Server 2003 upgrades and migrations, it willprovide consolidated information for systems administrators seeking upgrade guidance.
.: Environment Evaluation
The first phase of any type of migration is to evaluate your environment. In many cases, patch levels, runningapplications, and services provided are documented, but my not be complete. Depending on your role in theenvironment, you could be facing a dire situation.Jack Taugher [
9, excerpts from interview
], a colleague who is an IT consultant was asked to quote a serverupgrade. He was provided some information by the potential client, and drew up a quote. However, when hearrived to deliver the quote, he found the server with the front grill open revealing two IDE drives sitting un-mounted, stacked in the case. They were the systems sole drives in a mirrored configuration. Upon closerinspection, one had failed without warning, putting this client at great risk of data loss.Jack informed the customer of the situation, and was immediately hired to rectify the situation. This discoverychanged the scope of the migration project, and the quotation. Stabilization of the existing server is vital, andan initial evaluation would have revealed this.
Whether you find existing documentation or not, a complete evaluation is imperative, especially if you areplanning to upgrade the system software on your existing hardware. There are a variety of tools available toinventory the server hardware. Belarc Advisor [
] has an excellent utility for quickly evaluating thehardware, operating system patch status, and even performing a Center for Internet Security benchmark.Additional utilities for hardware evaluation are also provided by OEM support sites. For example, Dell has autility that automatically probes for the machines service tag number, and provides a detailed list of theoriginal hardware configuration, accompanied by the current hardware configuration. Microsoft provides theMicrosoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) that is useful for testing the patch status of both the server tobe retired, and the new replacement. There are also many vendors of enterprise level hardware evaluationutilities.If you plan to upgrade the system software on your existing server, use the hardware inventory to crossreference the Microsoft Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) [
]. Most major manufacturers of server components will certify those components for use with Microsoft Operating Systems. You should usethe Evaluation Worksheet addendum for your inventory, or if you are fortunate enough to have an OEMsystem that is HCL certified, you need not pour through that extensive list Belarc and other utilities produces.Simply record the server make and model, verify it at the Microsoft HCL website, and ensure that any addedcomponents since putting the server into service are also HCL compliant. Print the results from your hardwarePage 2 of 27