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Goodbye Windows Server, Hello Cloud

How_the_End_of_Windows_Se_73953_139536The end date of July 14, 2015 for Microsoft’s support for Windows Server 2003 is approaching quickly, and many businesses are poised for a change. Your company will need to make a decision quickly about how to move forward without this long-time IT infrastructure in place if plans are not already developed and ready to implement.

Assess Your Needs

This change gives your business and IT department a chance to consider whether Microsoft’s decision is an opportunity to craft a new blueprint to better serve your company and its goals. Given the evolution of cloud based solutions over the past several years the dismantling of Window Server 2003 can be a real turning point, urging businesses that have resisted the cloud to take another look at what it can offer them. Even if a total move to the cloud does not seem sensible it is time to at least educate yourself and your tech team on the cloud possibilities.

Consider A Cloud Compromise

Review what cloud based providers can offer in terms of storage, applications and security for at least a portion of your data and processing. If some in senior management are reluctant to consider this direction, remind them that with the loss of support in July 2015 your technology staff will be stretched thin. Moving some things to the cloud will free up IT time to work on your business’s issues, including the change from Window Server 2003 to whatever plan you are developing.

Your management and IT team will need to decide what should remain on your premises at least for the short term. Remember that new equipment may need to be placed in service for the onsite plan and the investment is likely to be considerable. The options available from cloud service providers may come with significant savings.

Start Asking Questions and Think About a Test Move

If you are considering moving to a third-party cloud provider take the time to review what particular providers offer your business. Discuss at length the services they can put in place for you, how much capacity they can manage and what their security structure looks like. Since this will be a major change for many companies make sure the cloud services provider has a good track record and plans to be around for some time.

Once you have decided upon a cloud services provider spend some time experimenting with moving small portions of your workload onto the cloud and then assess how the new system is working. If you or your staff is not comfortable with how things are shaking out, insist upon another discussion with the cloud provider. Work with your chosen provider until they give you what you need, and do not be afraid to check into a different solution if the first is too difficult or inefficient.

Take A Long View

Be flexible and willing to transition from your in house server through hybrid systems over the next months and even years. Until your suppliers are also cloud based you may need to have some infrastructure on site. As the technology evolves you will develop a clearer idea of just what configuration of on site and cloud computing will fit the needs of your business and your clients or customers the best.

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