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The Automated Migration of Windows Server Applications

Migrating and modernizing Microsoft Windows Server applications is a daunting task for many IT organizations. During the last 15 years, physical and virtual server platforms have exploded in number and diversity. Most DevOps teams struggle to manage a mix of Windows applications running on a diversity of 2000, 2003, 2008 and 2012 OS servers. Maintaining production applications across this diversity of environments has become an operational headache. With WS2000 platforms already beyond End of Service (EOS) and WS2003 platforms running in the final 2 years of extended support, the pressure is building from compliance teams and end users to reduce risk, save money, improve performance and modernize these servers and applications.

We estimate that there are still some 5 million W2000 servers running production applications. The number of W2003 servers exceeds 10 million. By the time W2008 reaches EOS in approximately 3 years, there will be more than 20 million servers running on W2008. Six years after that, W2012 EOS will force more than 30 million servers to be remediated and modernized. Each building migration wave needs to be modernized in the same 3 three-year window, so clearly the migration and modernization of Windows Server applications is an ongoing and growing tsunami of effort that IT organizations must address.

Many IT organizations plan to address their migration workload by using expanded, sometimes offshore labour resources to manually reinstall applications in a new server environment. If we assume that it can take a person up to 1 month of effort per server (this is an extremely conservative estimate) to identify the applications on the server, develop an upgrade plan, find old installation media, update it to the new environment, migrate and then test and validate the migration, then some 60 million person months of effort will be needed for Windows migration tasks over the next decade. For the IT industry this amounts to a minimum of 5 million person years of pure migration effort, ignoring the costs and time for management, server decommissioning, along with costs for physical server upgrades and software. Regardless of the monthly labour cost assumption, the required investment in labour is significant, as is required head count.

At VirtaMove, we believe that intelligent automation is a better way to address the problem of Windows application migration and modernization. Using programmed intelligence to automate the monitoring and analysis of applications on a server, combined with automated migration tools, can reduce the effort to migrate applications from months to days. Even if only 30-40% of applications lend themselves to easy automation, automated migration builds significant momentum for corporate modernization projects and saves years of labour. The percentage of migrations that can be addressed through intelligent automation is also increasing over time as our system “learns” more from thousands of successful migrations. We believe there just isn’t enough time or skilled resources available for any approach, other than automation, to be viable.

Every day VirtaMove helps customers build internal centers of excellence for migration to plan and actually address the ongoing tsunami of effort. Call us if you would like to learn more about intelligent automated migration of Windows Server applications.

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