Microsoft has a number of tools to help you with your transition to Windows Server 2012. I'll be looking at several of these to help lay out what each does and how they might be of benefit to your situation.
First up for consideration is the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit. The MAP Toolkit is a part of the Microsoft Solution Accelerators offerings targeted at large enterprises looking to migrate from one version of a Microsoft product to another. In operation, the MAP Toolkit takes inventory of your existing environment providing a number of reports to support the decision-making process.
The MAP Toolkit has been around for quite some time and is currently up to version 7.0 with the latest release. You can use the tool to determine your readiness to upgrade to the following Microsoft products:
Windows Server 2012
Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Office 365
Internet Explorer 9
Windows Azure Platform
Windows Server 2008 R2
Microsoft SQL Server 2012
Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track
There are a number of different "collector" technologies available with the MAP toolkit to help get an accurate picture of the total environment. This includes non-Microsoft products like Oracle and VMware. The inventory tools use a number of different methods including PowerShell, SSH, and WMI along with Active Directory queries to build as complete a picture as possible. The Inventory and Assessment Wizard guides you through the process of choosing which types of scenarios you want to collect information on and what additional steps are required to complete the process. This could include making changes to firewall rules in order to accomplish the inventory step.
The MAP Toolkit is quite comprehensive and can appear somewhat overwhelming upon first glance. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information and guidance to help get you through the process. Microsoft has adopted the Wiki platform for publishing content related to broad topics, such as the MAP Toolkit.
There's a beta version out for version 8.0 of the MAP toolkit, which you can download for the cost of a Windows Live ID. You can sign up here. Version 8.0 adds a number of new capabilities to the existing suite including Office 2013 and Office 365 readiness assessments. It includes a reworked user interface with a simplified navigation structure that should make running the tool easier. It has Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 as a primary migration target, so you should have everything you need to help make specific migration decisions down to individual machines. It also has some new recommendation tools focused on helping you determine if a particular workload would benefit from migrating to the Windows Azure platform. This includes estimating tools for comparing costs between on-premises and hosted options. The beta program runs through December 14, 2012, so jump on it if that's of interest. The best part about these tools is that they're free!
Is there a major difference (or advantage/disadvantage) in Windows server migration versus PC migration? Is not having to deal with end users helpful? Or does the complexity of the issue make up for any scheduling issues regarding end users?
Thanks Paul. Really helpful. I think this especially will be of use to CIOs and other IT leaders: This includes estimating tools for comparing costs between on-premises and hosted options.
There are many variables to consider regarding Windows server migration. Most IT organizations will want to know how to do this as cost-effectively as possible. Can you provide any additional advice in that regard?
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