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How to Prepare Your Business as Windows Server 2003 Dies:

Setting up an IT solution forces you to consider a lot. From the rack enclosures to the type of computer hardware you use, your technology will define your success in the coming years. You also need to consider the climate of your IT solution, as that will directly shape the energy consumption and environmental impact of your servers. How will you keep your server rack enclosures cool? What sort of fire protection system should you use?

There is a lot to consider when setting up your rack enclosures and starting your path to IT sustainability. Recent developments in the IT world are putting yet another hurtle in front of your business. As reported by The Register, a popular online news source for all things IT, Microsoft is ending its support of Server 2003, one of the most popular server platforms on the market. While the solution will be kept alive until July 14 2015, you need to start migrating to Server 2012 R2 immediately, if you want to avoid the issues that come with a sudden rush.

Why You Need to Be Ahead of the Curve
Many IT professionals see that the deadline for upgrading to Server 2012 is still way off and wonder why they need to rush. The whole point is that you don't want to have to rush; you want to be well prepared by the time Microsoft cuts the cord.

As TechTarget.com writes, switching now means consistency and security. By migrating now, you give yourself the opportunity to address any issues as they arise, without having to hurry to meet any deadline. The other big consideration is security. There will be no new patches to Server 2003, meaning any new virus or any new method of attacking your servers and stealing your data will receive no treatment from Microsoft. Your company will be left wide open.

Considerations for Migration
Successfully migrating to Server 2012 R2 is all about planning. This planning process, as highlighted by tech site TechNet, should come in three stages:

  1. Develop an Implementation Strategy - Whether you run a single system setup or an entire server farm, you need to put your head together with your IT team to hash out a plan of implementation. What needs to happen when? Who will be affected during each phase? Knowing these things ahead of time, you can come up with contingency plans to mitigate any issues.
  2. Assess Your Current Technology - The next step is to take stock of everything, from your website domain to your software. Your server rack shelves and other hardware likely won't be a problem. Check to ensure your domain and third-party applications work well in Server 2012. If they don't, you can tweak your website or find alternatives to your current software before you're put in a tough position.
  3. Get Help - There comes a point in every migration where you'll either realize you can get through the process alone or you realize you can't. If it's the latter, be willing to make the call to a professional IT service. The last thing you need is to accidentally delete your website or expose any vital information. It may mean an extra bill, but what's the alternative?

It's important to keep in mind that you still have time to migrate. With a systematic approach to the problem, you can minimize downtime, keep security constant, and drive your company toward the future.

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