Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 - Server Migration Executive Summary Datasheet
Introduction<br />Today’s datacenters are evolving rapidly. Services and applications continue to proliferate while cloud-based technologies offer the promise of rapid implementation and scalability. New hardware advancements and a huge growth in the use of virtualization have further transformed the IT landscape. At the same time, economic constraints are forcing IT departments to continually improve operational efficiency and control costs while managing all these resources.<br />To use your IT infrastructure as a business enabler and competitive resource means embracing these new trends as they become viable for your business. It also means designing an infrastructure that is capable of reacting quickly, even immediately, to new business opportunities and workloads. <br />Microsoft’s Core Infrastructure Optimization model can help. The Core IO mode issolely focused on providing you with the best Microsoft IT investment; one aimed at reducing your IT costs while also ensuring that your infrastrucutre is robust and agile enough to align with and drive new business goals. The number one priority for Microsoft is to maximze the value of our customers’ IT infrastructure.<br />To this end, customers need to enable a robust and capable infrastructure – and the foundation for such a datacenter is modern server operating system, namely Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft’s latest server OS is designed to help organizations tackle today’s IT challenges with a next-generation server operating system that helps foster operational efficiency by being easy to manage, as well as taking better advantage of hardware advancements and virtualizations and preparing the way for cloud solutions.<br />This executive summary discusses the benefits of migrating to Windows Server 2008 R2, covering not only the OS’ many new advantages but also its stature as the foundation for the rest of Microsoft’s datacenter stack as well as its ability to act as a management hub for heterogeneous server operating platforms, clients and hardware.<br />Why Migrate?<br />With Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft has focused on multiple areas of investment in order to help customers improve operations and control costs while keeping pace with technological advancement. Five areas in particular underline the benefits and considerations driving migration to Windows Server 2008 R2. These include:<br /><ul><li>Datacenter virtualization
Server storage</li></ul>Additionally, Windows Server 2008 R2 represents the foundation for much of Microsoft’s new IT and dynamic datacenter stack. Below we’ll dicsuss Windows Server 2008 R2’s benefits for customers looking to:<br /><ul><li>Virtualization consolidation via System Center
A flexible, on-premise/off-premise cloud computing infrastructure</li></ul>Datacenter Virtualization<br />With virtualization, organizations are increasingly able to consolidate workloads to make better use of hardware, dynamically scale to meet changes in demand, improve operational efficiency, and reduce power consumption. Now organizations are looking for further ways to maximize the value of virtualization.<br />Today’s virtualization capabilities were unimagined in the Windows 2000 era. With Windows Server 2003, Microsoft began providing virtualization technologies, but only with Windows Server 2008 was this technology fully integrated into the server platform via Hyper-V. Windows Server 2008 R2 improves upon this platform with several key enhancements:<br /><ul><li>Virtualization Management: Windows Server 2008 R2 provides improved and unified management of virtual resources, providing greater consistency and efficiency in how those resources are administered.
Live Migration: Live Migration in Windows Server 2008 R2 provides improved availability and flexibility through the ability to migrate running virtual machines without causing downtime.
Performance: Windows Server 2008 R2 virtualization also provides improved performance and networking through I/O and virtual disk enhancements. Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2 also provides support for up to 64 logical processors, enabling IT organizations to take better advantage of today’s latest hardware for greater workload consolidation and cost savings.
Cross-Platform: Windows Server 2008 R2 virtualization provides cross-platform capabilities with support for Linux guest OSes and applications. System Center Virtual Machine Manager provides the additional ability to integrate with and manage VMWare ESX virtual machines.</li></ul>Datacenter Management<br />The ongoing demands of datacenter management consume a large share of IT resources. As systems and applications continue to proliferate, the effort required to manage them also grows. IT departments can become bogged down in repetitive manual tasks, which can cripple their ability to react quickly to new business needs or competitive IT trends. <br />Windows Server 2008 R2 addresses these challenges by offering a unified set of tools to manage systems across the enterprise from the datacenter to the desktop, including both physical and virtual resources. In addition, Windows Server 2008 R2 supports seamless integration with the Microsoft System Center family of management products, the Microsoft Forefront family of security products and the Windows 7 client operating system. This integration is key to allowing IT professionals to quickly and cost-effectively design customized business IT solutions for your enterprise. <br />Some of the top management enhancements in Windows Server 2008 R2 include:<br /><ul><li>PowerShell 2.0: PowerShell 2.0 in Windows Server 2008 R2 provides administrators with command-line scripting that lets them easily build custom management automation across the Microsoft application stack.
Active Directory Improvements: Active Directory continues to be the bedrock of Microsoft’s network, server and user management. AD in Windows Server 2008 R2 now offers better security for AD servers, new and easier management consoles with full PowerShell support for IT Pros and tight integration with Forefront Identity Manager to let customers quickly and cost-effectively implement industry-standard identity management for security and regulatory compliance.
Improved Remote Administration: Windows Server 2008 R2 provides an improved Server Manager and other management consoles that better support remote management scenarios, enabling administrators to be more productive in managing distributed resources.
Enhanced Power Consumption: Windows Server 2008 R2 improves power consumption and helps save money with better management of server CPU power use and virtualization technologies that help consolidate server hardware.
Best Practice Compliance: The Windows Server 2008 R2 Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) tests the configuration of a Windows Server across all major server roles and evaluates it against current IT best practices, allowing IT pros to quickly ensure that servers are properly configured and verify compliance. </li></ul>Server Security<br />In Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft has made security a focus across all server roles, with improvements to security and security management that are intended not only to help protect valuable resources, but to help foster security best practices and provide visibility into security configurations.<br /><ul><li>Best Practices Analyzer: The new Best Practices Analyzer in Windows Server 2008 R2 creates a checklist for each server role. Administrators can use this capability to help ensure that servers are configured in accordance with IT best practices for security, reliability, and IT compliance.
Identity Management: Windows Server 2008 R2 improvements to the Active Directory Domain Services and Active Directory Federated Services server roles help to ensure efficient directory management and security. Active Directory also features close integration with Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager 2010 (FIM). FIM provides a complete solution for managing identities, credentials, and policies across heterogeneous environments, making those systems easier to manage and helping to enhance security and policy enforcement.
Branch Office Security: The new Read-Only Domain Controller capability in Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory provides branch offices with a read-only version of directory information that helps to ensure smooth operations while preventing changes made at branch offices from negatively impacting the rest of the Active Directory forest.
Reduced Attack Surface: Reducing the attack surface is one of the first ways that organizations can help to keep their resources secure. Windows Server 2008 R2 helps IT reduce their attack surface with the new Server Manager, which helps to ensure that each server is configured correctly for its server role and that no un-needed services are running on the network, reducing avenues for malicious attack.</li></ul>Server Storage<br />Server storage remains an ongoing cost for many organizations. As applications proliferate and more and more business processes are taken online, organizations have increasing needs for file and data storage. Reducing the costs and effort associated with storage can lead to a significant savings over time. Windows Server 2008 R2 includes a number of enhancements that make storage more efficient and easier to manage:<br /><ul><li>Enterprise backup: Via tight integration with System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM), Windows Server 2008 R2 can quickly provide an enterprise-capable redundant backup infrastructure.
Compliance: Rapidly changing data protection legislation can be a challenge for businesses burdened with Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA or credit card processing workloads to name a few. Windows Server 2008 R2 makes protecting corporate and customer data easier with support for better fault tolerance and new features like the File Classification Infrastructure (FCI), which automatically manages data location and security settings based on policy.
Management: Microsoft has invested in improvements to storage management, helping to further reduce the costs associated with networked storage. Improvements include automated deployment of storage settings, improved monitoring of the storage subsystem, and version control improvements for storage configuration settings.
File Classification Infrastructure: Windows Server 2008 R2 File Classification Infrastructure provides an extensible infrastructure for file classification, so that organizations can classify their files more effectively and gain insight based on stored data. This lets business more easily ensure compliance (see above), but also lets IT pros design quick, cost-efficient and automatic data migration to the most economicaly storage hardware based on classification, thus further decreasing storage costs.</li></ul>Planning Your Migration<br />While server operating migration projects can seem overwhelming, some careful planning combined with free tools and services offered by Microsoft can execute your migration project efficiently and cost-effectively. Start with these four planning steps:<br /><ul><li>Standardize on scalable, industry-standard server hardware. Windows Server 2008 R2 supports the latest server hardware. Standardizing on several models within a single hardware platform can make deployment much easier because your IT staff will be more easily able to create reusable server OS images.
Build processes around IT/people interaction. Taking advantage of the benefits offered by virtualization and the Dynamic Datacenter means examining the way in which your workers use IT. Architect your physical and virtual workloads based on your discoveries about this interaction.
Vet your management tools. While your organization likely already has management platforms and processes, remapping these to the new IT processes you designed in step 2 is critical to an efficient migration.
Explore on-prem/off-prem IT services. The cloud is bringing a new source of IT services to your business. Explore current and future cloud offerings relevant to your business, especially as you move applications from older Windows Server platforms or third-party server OSes into your new IT infrastructure. Considering the cloud in these situations will add a new dimension to both your workload design as well as your management architecture.
Next, talk to your Microsoft partner or reseller and investigate the numerous free tools and services offered by Microsoft for customers migrating to Windows Server 2008 R2 from any server OS platform. A few of these include:
Free infrastructure planning and design guides (IPD)
Free Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP)
Specific application technical guidance from the TechNet Knolwedge Library.