Practically Painless NT to Windows Server 2003 Migration: Preparation and Planning - Page 2

 By Hallett German
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Simplify Your Environment

After documenting your environment and before proceeding to the migration plan itself, you need to answer the following critical questions:

  1. Is my site prepared for a Windows server 2003 migration, and if not, how much additional work will I need to do to get ready?
  2. How much hardware/software consolidation and elimination can be done prior to migration?

Even if your existing hardware meets the minimum published requirements for Windows Server 2003, you should still verify migration readiness. Microsoft is notorious for underestimating the hardware configuration requirements. To check your PDCs/BDCs for 2003 readiness, enter the command winnnt32/checkupgradeonly at the console prompt. Note that by default the results are saved to upgrade.txt in the systemroot directory.

Be aware of two important caveats before proceeding. This capability is only available after installing Windows NT Service Pack 5 or later, and the server will not be able to perform its PDC/BDC role during the readiness check.

Use the Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit (currently version 3.0) to evaluate application migration readiness. This handy utility contains three very useful applications.

Microsoft Compatibility Analyzer – An application that will perform a software inventory that is stored in an Access or SQL Server database. It can also sort by various fields such as application, department name, or computer type.

Compatibility Administrator – For custom applications, the analyzer can determine exactly what fixes are needed to upgrade a given application. It will then create software packages with the required patches. It also has the capability to create a custom fix database. Compatibility Database Installer can then be used for custom patch installs.

Windows Application Verifier – In-house developers can use the verifier to probe for potential migration problems with home-grown applications. Since many in-house applications are not as carefully built for portability as commercial software, this can be a real lifesaver. This will be especially useful for those converting older Windows 9x applications.

To make the migration easier, you may want to consider using the project as an opportunity to consolidate and retire older hardware and legacy applications. If you are contemplating this, keep the following points in mind:

  • Many companies have far too many unneeded NT domains, including grassroots domains were created by users. Smaller, less active domains should be consolidated or expired.

  • With legacy applications, you will have to decide when to retire or consolidate them before the migration. If these applications will be supported after the migration, they will have to interface with Active Directory through Directory Synchronization or LDAP replication.

  • Server and application consolidation can take place during the migration process. Windows Server 2003 will ably replace multiple Windows NT servers. This can mean either running more applications per server or running one application with many more users than the equivalent NT server.

Page 3: Critical Decisions

This article was originally published on Sep 3, 2003
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