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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

When Is the Right Time to Migrate?

When Windows 2008 first shipped at the beginning of 2008, many organizations wondered about the right time to migrate to the new operating system. It used to be that you waited until the first service pack shipped before installing any Microsoft product; however, Windows 2008 in the early adopter beta program proved to be so extremely reliable and dependable that many organizations were implementing Windows 2008 before the product launch. So, the decision of when to implement Windows 2008 comes down to the same decision on migration to any new technology—identify the value received by implementing Windows 2008, test the solution in a limited environment, and roll Windows 2008 out when you are comfortable that the product meets the needs of your organization.

This introductory chapter notes the many features and functions built in to Windows 2008 that have helped other organizations make the decision that Windows 2008 has significant value to plan a migration and new server implementation. Improvements in security, performance, and manageability provide benefits to organizations looking to minimize administration costs, while providing more functionality to users.

The cost and effort to migrate to Windows 2008 vary based on the current state of an organization's networking environment as well as the Windows 2008 features and functions the organization wants to implement. Some organizations begin their migration process to Windows 2008 by adding a Windows 2008 member server into an existing Windows 2000/2003 network. Others choose to migrate their Active Directory to Windows 2008 as their introduction to the new operating system.

Adding a Windows Server 2008 System to a Windows 2000/2003 Environment

Many organizations want to add in a specific Windows 2008 function such as Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services, Windows SharePoint Services, Windows Media Services, or so on. Such functions can be installed on Windows 2008 member servers in existing Windows 2000/2003 networking environments. This allows an organization to get Windows 2008 application capabilities fairly quickly and easily without having to do a full migration to Windows Server 2008. In many cases, a Windows 2008 member server can simply be added to an existing network without ever affecting the existing network. This addition provides extremely low network impact but enables an organization to prototype and test the new technology, pilot it for a handful of users, and slowly roll out the technology to the client base as part of a regular system replacement or upgrade process.

Some organizations have replaced all their member servers with Windows 2008 systems over a period of weeks or months as a preparatory step to eventually migrate to a Windows 2008 Active Directory structure.

Migrating from Windows 2000/2003 Active Directory to Windows Server 2008 Active Directory

For organizations that already have a Windows 2000 or 2003 Active Directory environment, migrating to Windows 2008 for Active Directory functionality can provide access to several additional capabilities that require a Windows network to be running on Windows 2008. Some of the Windows 2008 technologies that require implementation of the Windows 2008 Active Directory include Network Policy and Access Services, Windows 2008 Group Policy enhancements, and the full Windows 2008 Distributed File System.

Fortunately, organizations that already have Windows 2000 or 2003 Active Directory in place have completed the hard part of the Active Directory implementation process. Effectively, Windows 2008 uses the same Active Directory organizational structure that was created with Windows 2000 and 2003, so forests, domain trees, domains, organizational units, sites, groups, and users all transfer directly into Windows 2008 Active Directory. If the organizational structure in Windows 2000/2003 meets the needs of the organization, the migration to Windows 2008 is predominantly just the insertion of a Windows 2008 global catalog server into the existing Windows 2000 or 2003 Active Directory domain to perform a global catalog update to Windows 2008 Active Directory.

Of course, planning, system backup, and prototype testing—covered in Chapter 16, "Migrating from Windows 2000/2003 to Windows Server 2008"—help minimize migration risks and errors and lead to a more successful migration process. However, the migration process from Windows 2000/2003 to Windows 2008 is a relatively easy migration path for organizations to follow.

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