At the Dell User Forum today, Dell has taken a step in helping both promote and service the pending end of life for Windows Server 2003. With extended support for Windows Server 2003 ending on July 14, 2015, Dell has found that many organizations are still either unaware of the coming end, or are struggling with legacy applications that still require the old architecture.

Dell is making a very important move with the intent to support Windows Server 2003 migrations, and it comes at a time when businesses everywhere should start serious consideration about eliminating the old server operating system from the network.

"Customers around the world could be placing their data and customers at considerable risk by not migrating off of Windows Server 2003 before the deadline," said Suresh Vaswani, president, Dell Services. "They may also face lack of compliance with various regulatory and industry standards, which could impact their business, particularly in highly regulated industries such as finance or healthcare. We aim to help our customers proactively address these issues and ensure a smooth transition."

Yesterday, I spoke with Rodger McArthur and Jefferson Raley from Dell about the new migration services offering. Both Rodger and Jefferson agree that there's very little time left and with the number of projects and tasks that IT Pros are faced with, migration is important enough to move to the top of the critical list.

Rodger and Jefferson outlined 5 distinct paths for migration, and then stated how Dell can serve to provide migration success in each area.

Extract and Migrate. Through a partnership with AppZero, Dell is able to help customers do a full migration from old hardware to new hardware using Windows Server 2012 R2. Or, if the benefit exists, to move specific services or applications to Microsoft Azure.

Automated Task Sequence. Dell is fully experienced with System Center Configuration Manager and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) and can help customers build automated migration solutions. In addition, Dell has developed expanded capabilities for MDT to make the migration seamless and automatic.

Service or App Compatibility Testing. Obviously, moving from an older operating system to a newer one will contain speed bumps, particularly when it comes to application and service compatibility. Dell has also tailored its migration service to accommodate compatibility issues. Dell's Changebase application can solve the service and application issues.

Manual Build. Building a new server and manually migrating services and applications is the long way around, but Dell can help there, too. Dell's experienced technicians can help develop strategies for moving in this direction where it makes sense. Soliciting Dell to help with the migration, they will also be able to aid in deciding which path to take. Of course, even in this area, Dell's superior server hardware can provide value.

Rewriting Legacy Apps. If it's determined that some applications simply cannot be migrated due to custom development, Dell actually has this covered, too. This is one of the biggest issues for those companies that spent budget on custom applications only to see the developer go out of business while the company continued to rely on the application for the last decade.

"There is no single migration plan that suits all workloads. Dell Services provides unique solutions to help rank and classify your Windows migration pathway based on critical business needs," said Joe Schoenbaechler, Vice President, Infrastructure Consulting Services & Solution Architecture, Dell Services. "Dell's end-to-end expertise addresses Windows migration from the data center to the end point, empowering customers to innovate their IT environments with ease."

It's considered that those companies still using Windows Server 2003 have not gone through the process of evaluating and then modernizing and optimizing the datacenter. Dell is prepared to provide optimization services to bring the company's datacenter into today's standards.

You would think that those companies still using Windows Server 2003 today are small companies without proper migration resources. Rodger and Jefferson told me that it's surprising the number of large companies that are still running Windows Server 2003 for one reason or another. So, the problem is actually quite a bit larger than one would expect.

Dell has the experience. In 2013 Dell helped more than 500 enterprise customers migrate from Windows XP.  Dell's team of IT experts simplifies the path to migration with services that deliver application, hardware and deployment readiness. Dell's Windows Migration Services provide a comprehensive range of options to develop and execute a migration strategy tailored to their specific needs. IT departments that partner with Dell's team of Windows migration experts minimize IT resource strain and software licensing costs while maximizing management software investments and end-user experience. 

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