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Microsoft – It’s gone end of life, now what!

Overview of Windows Server upgrades | Microsoft Docs

In this article, we will be discussing the improvements made to the Microsoft stack that actually make upgrading really simple! If you have ever run a Microsoft Windows Server in a large environment, you will know that making any change is always hard work. 

In recent years Microsoft has made upgrading Server operating systems much better. Did you know that since server 2008 you can actually run an in-place upgrade! What’s more, we have completed a number of upgrades, and it’s actually pretty stable. The amazing thing is that we have even managed to complete upgrades remotely with remote desktop! No kidding with the correct planning and preparation you can actually remotely upgrade the complete operating system!

  1. Test or non-essential servers
  2. Infrastructure servers
  3. Application servers
  4. Database servers
  5. Exchange servers
  6. Active Directory servers (Do no upgrade)

For the most part, you can use the in-place upgrades. However, we would recommend with things like Active Directory that you build new servers and then decommission your old ones. 

When it comes to doing the upgrade we recommend that your preparation includes the following things:

  1. Backup the server
  2. If virtual create a snapshot
  3. Ensure your drivers are supported on the new OS
  4. Make notes regarding network configurations
  5. If you are using software teaming ensure this is supported on the new OS
  6. Ensure contingency on your change window

Once you have completed your upgrades it is essential to ensure you have Microsoft updates working correctly to get the latest patches. We recommend creating a group policy to enable Windows updates by default but creating a group of different schedules so that not all servers get updated at the same time. This will ensure then if a batch of bad updates are released that your complete estate doesn’t end up needing remediation. Always ensure that non-critical servers are the first to receive the latest patches!

In conclusion, Microsoft has made upgrading the Server operating system much easier, however, you still need to complete the correct level of preparation and planning before jumping into any upgrades. If you are looking for assistance when it comes to upgrading your estate, then get in touch. Next2IT has a wealth of experience of upgrading complex environments and our experts would be more than happy to help!

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