Windows Server 2008 Migration Challenges – Server Roles
There is always a certain amount of buzz among IT professionals, especially those whose duties focus on managing Microsoft environments, when Microsoft has a major new operating systems release. This is certainly the case with the emergence of Windows Server 2008 R2. 2008 has many added advantages over previous Windows server versions. Significant improvements include features like:
• Improved hardware scaling
• Reduced Power Consumption
• Enhanced remote access
• RODC…and a host of others
Is Your Hardware Ready for the Role:
Of course, all these new features in Windows Server 2008 come at the cost of increased hardware platform requirements. While generally speaking, Windows Server 2003 can be upgraded to Windows Server 2008, it is typical for server administrators to take the opportunity to re-provision servers with a clean install or image deployed OS environment. That said, not all server hardware platforms are suitable for various 2008 server roles, so that old 2003 server in your rack may not be a good upgrade candidate for the role you intend. Hyper-V, for instance, cannot be installed if a machine is not x64 processor that supports hardware assisted virtualization. So, reprovisioning existing server hardware with 2008 can be a legitimate and effective cost control measure, just look before you leap. A good place to “look” is Microsoft’s TechNet site. There you can fine role specific implantation guides such as the “Hyper-V Getting Started Guide”.
Is Your Software Environment Prepared for Desired 2008 Server Roles:
Role specific hardware equipments are certainly a consideration, but your research doesn’t stop there. A good example of integration of a role that has important software configuration prerequisites is that of the domain controller. Consider that one of the most common 2003 to 2008 migration challenges is transferring Active Directory management to the 2008 platform. Because the key AD architecture components differ between 2008 and 2003, some preparation of the existing AD software environment is required. When performing this operation, certain steps should be strictly followed in order to avoid speed bumps. The command should be executed on the machine running the schema master role with the credentials of schema admin and enterprise admin in order to prepare the entire forest for the integration of Windows Server 2008 domain controllers. In case point, if an organization runs a multi-domain environment, command must be executed on all the domain controllers of the domain. However, there is a catch: the “/domainprep” command action can only be run after “/forestprep” is complete and the changes synchronized throughout the domain…..gotcha! The operative point here is, again, look before you leap. Thankfully there are a large number of readily available configuration guides and HOWTO’s on Technet and other sites.
Although there are obviously numerous challenges with Windows 2008 configuration once deployed, the good news is that deploying the OS doesn’t need to be that difficult. Microsoft has made things easier by developing some very sophisticated applications. Examples of these applications are: Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). These tools can be used to automate the process of deployment, migration, and other staple IT challenges. These applications are highly capable, but take some learning investment to begin to leverage their potential. At least managing and delivering OS images can be relatively painless. DeployExpert is a native add-on to and extension of SCCM/MDT. DX adds on powerful analytics, OS image management, driver sourcing and deeply automated OSD process management that can really help you achieve your server endpoint OS migration and management goals.