Server migration scenarios come in assorted forms, and migrating to Windows Server 2008 R2 is no exception. For example, you may be migrating from a cluster environment, or from Hyper-V, to another physical environment, and so on. There are several possible solutions to tackle these scenarios. However, despite the variation, several standard practices are possible for Windows Server 2008 R2 migration.
Windows Server 2008 R2 is the only server operating system from Microsoft that will be purely on a 64-bit platform. However, if your organization has an earlier version of an x86-based platform, it's possible to move your services to the Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit version.
Determine your migration needs: A particular service might be run in different environments, like failover or high-availability. Your organization should examine the differences in performance and the corresponding needs for the future. For example, you might want to scale out database escalation and an impending shift to server virtualization. In such a case, you have to analyze performance needs based on this requirement.
Four step process: Server migration to Windows Server 2008 R2 is not as complex as it is made it out to be. Windows Server 2008 R2 has a four-step server migration process. Once you determine the infrastructure is ready for migration, the process becomes easier after you enable the built-in tools.
Windows Server 2008 R2 includes the PowerShell administrative tool to streamline server migration. PowerShell is also available for previous versions of Windows. PowerShell includes commands to generate server migration data, export server migration data on the source computer, import server migration data, and install the server on the destination. Basically, these four commands complete the task.
There is no need to pay for extra tools or hire partners for Windows Server 2008 R2 migration, since everything has been built into the server. Window Server 2008 R2 also has a set of built-in migration tools called Windows Server Migration Tools.
Have a checklist: Data backup is always recommended before Windows Server 2008 R2 server migration. There is a built-in command that performs a backup before data migration. Also, it's best to ensure the destination server is up and fully available before decommissioning the old server. It might not be possible to transfer all the settings. For example, if you have Windows 2008 Server core, you might not move its services to R2. This is because the .NET framework was not built into the Windows 2008 Server environment. All the migration tools are based on the .NET framework. If the source platform does not support .NET, the tools will not run on the platform. Thus, you have to add an additional server, bring that into the environment, and then decommission the old server.
Typically, contrary IP settings are given to source servers and the actual production IP is given to destination servers. It is quite hassle-free to ensure users are able to connect to the destination servers (as smoothly as was the case with the earlier servers). If there are any issues, the IP settings can always be changed so users can reconnect to the old servers.
Cost: Organizations will be paying for the Windows Server 2008 R2 license before migrating, so they will not be paying more for server migration or migration tools. R2's built-in tools will help the organization to leverage its investment. When an organization buys the Windows Server 2008 R2 installation DVD, it is the company's choice whether it wants to have the server core installation or full installation. Thus, based on factors such as security and uptime, the company can decide on the type of install.
About the author: Pallavi Kathuria is the director of server business group for Microsoft India. In this role, Kathuria is responsible for driving and influencing performance, as well as the long-term success of Microsoft's server business in India. She is also in charge of Microsoft's engagement with the Indian IT professional community.
(As told to Jasmine Desai.)