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Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Rescue Program

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Now that the deadline for end of support for Windows Server 2003 is less than six months out, we are finding many organizations aren’t going to make the deadline and need help.

To address this, CompuCom has put together a comprehensive Windows Server Rescue Program for enterprise clients in the U.S. and Canada. Our Windows Server Rescue Program is a fixed-price/scope assessment and planning initiative designed to help clients identify the largest areas of risk and come up with a plan for addressing them – quickly!

We understand that organizations are in different stages when it comes to new Windows Server OS adoption. That is why each engagement starts with a current state analysis. During this phase we will look at:

  • All the workloads you have running on the remaining Server 2003 platforms in your organization.
  • Whether your organization is ready to take advantage of the innovative solutions being deployed on the latest platforms.
  • Whether your organization has regulatory compliance commitments that require vendor support beyond Windows Server 2003 end of life.

After we determine where you are, key areas of concern, and desired future state, we will then work with you to:

  • Determine the testing, QA, and production requirements for a migration of your critical workloads. 
  • Understand the constraints and timelines that work for your organization.
  • Help define the roadmap for the migration that best fits your organization’s needs and timelines.
  • Apply repeatable best practices we’ve learned from our past experience.
  • Leverage our tools and methodologies developed and refined over time that drive large-scale project deployments with speed and accuracy. 
  • Engage our experienced subject matter experts to consult on key areas of concern.

Deliverables will then include:

Server Readiness Assessment
Using the latest industry-proven tools to assess and analyze your workloads running on Windows 2003 servers, as well as assess Server 2012 readiness for those applications.

Server Migration Architecture Planning
A 10-day design session will be scheduled to discuss available management and migration tools, targeted operating system changes, and recommended migration methods for typical workloads running on Server 2003.

Leveraging the results from the initial session, we will then schedule a three-day technical deep-dive to explore the changes in Server 2012 R2.

Implementation Planning
At the end of the engagement, we will provide a well-defined approach to the migration with clear technical dependencies. Timelines can be added or adjusted based on priorities and the size of the project. A project plan and resource requirements document will also be provided to accurately forecast the cost to migrate.

The results to you:

  • Lower risk
  • Clear and measurable ROI
  • Reduced complexity

Windows Server 2003 End of Support Security Option from Symantec

Microsoft will end support for all versions of Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015. When this happens systems running the expired OS will face significant security, stability and regulatory risks.

For organizations that need to stay with their legacy systems due to cost and control issues, or old, proprietary applications that cannot run on newer platforms, they should ensure effective protection that can:

  • Defend against known and unknown malware without the need for continual security patching
  • Maximize system uptime and maintains regulatory compliance

Symantec Data Center Security: Server Advanced 6.0 hardens physical and virtual servers and locks down applications on legacy systems such as Windows Server 2003 or legacy UNIX versions.

Keep in mind this is a temporary fix, migration is still the end goal and will be required. Additional products and solutions from Symantec that could be of assistance for a Windows Server 2003 migration include:

  • Symantec Backup Exec or NetBackup - The first step before making any change to your systems is having a recent, “known good” copy of the data, Symantec’s Backup Exec or NetBackup solutions can ensure that data is backed up properly. Another consideration is where to migrate that workload or application to – to a newer physical server, to a virtual server, or to the cloud. These backup and recovery solutions also have the added benefit of providing native technology that will convert physical servers into virtual – which is where your datacenter should be moving anyways.
  • Symantec Deployment Solution 7.5 powered by Altiris technology makes migration faster and easier with comprehensive deployment capabilities including image-based or scripted operating system installation and ongoing provisioning.
  • Symantec Server Management Suite powered by Altiris technology provides IT administrators with a comprehensive solution for managing physical and virtual servers across a broad array of platforms including Windows®, Linux®, UNIX® and virtual platforms

Learn more at: go.symantec.com/2003migration

Dell Software Solutions for Windows Server 2003 EOS

Dell Software can help you ensure a successful transition to Windows Server 2012, ensuring that you maintain coexistence, so all users remain productive and have continued access to resources throughout the migration.

Their software portfolio spans over every aspect of your Windows Server 2012 project – Prepare, Migrate, Coexist, and Manage – so you can reduce costs, minimize risks and reduce downtime to users during and after your Migration.

ChangeBASE: automates application compatibility testing, remediation, packaging, and virtualization to reduce the risk of migrating.

Enterprise Reporter: is a scalable solution for auditing, analyzing and reporting on the configuration across the enterprise to support business changes or decisions. For a migration, it delivers reports to understand what needs to be moved and what can be trashed. Migration Manager for AD and File Servers allows you to efficiently migrate and restructure Active Directory and File Servers while ensuring coexistence between migrated and unmigrated environments.

ChangeAuditor: tracks, reports and alerts on vital configuration changes to Microsoft® Active Directory® in real time and without the overhead costs of native auditing. It identifies who made what change when, where and from which workstation.

Recovery Manager for AD:
enables to instantly recover the desired AD data in granular if corrupted by a human error and hardware or software failures. The Forest Edition enables online delegated restores as well as automates the manual steps required to recover your entire domain or forest.

Understanding the Difference between a Microsoft SAM Assessment and an Audit

Written by Allen Biehl, Director, Software Strategic Services

When was the last time you thought about copy protection? To some (younger) IT practitioners, this is an alien concept. You are by definition an old-timer if you remember the days when software vendors used all sorts of convoluted techniques to protect their intellectual capital.

Seen any dongles recently?

 
No, you haven’t. Because software publishers came to the healthy realization that copy protection schemes were self-defeating. They found that rather than restricting usage, allowing folks to use their tools was the best way to get them to buy them.

Ever since, publishers have engaged in a wide variety of tactics to ensure that people – and companies – pay for the software they use. These days, a typical software end-user license agreement entails some sort of self-audit clause that requires you to understand and adhere to the publisher’s licensing metrics. The challenge is that most publishers give little or no guidance on HOW you should comply. That’s up to you.

Microsoft has changed that model. They launched a Software Asset Management (SAM) group dedicated to helping clients understand and implement SAM best practices. This group established the Microsoft SAM Optimization model to help clients think strategically. It also formalized a Baseline Assessment process, using the Effective License Position (ELP) statement – long a mainstay of the Enterprise Agreement (EA) management methodology, subsequently branded as “T-36.” Since then, Microsoft has been actively contacting its customers to offer one of these Baseline Assessments.

And that’s where things get complicated.

Here you see that the process for completing an Effective License Position statement study is remarkably similar to (insert ominous music here) an audit:

  • Collect all the information about what’s installed in your environment.
  • Analyze your EAs, Select and Select Plus purchases, and any other license acquisitions (mergers, etc.).
  • Apply your current entitlements to your current installations to find any gaps.

Small wonder then that clients would lump the two processes under the same heading. We frequently have clients approach us for help with a “Microsoft audit,” only to find that they’re actually engaged in a SAM Baseline Assessment.
 
And yet there are key differences between an audit and a SAM Baseline Assessment.

The most important distinction is that a Baseline Assessment is not punitive in nature. If you hear from the Contract Compliance people at Microsoft (those responsible for ensuring that you’re living up to your end of the licensing agreements), then chances are they suspect there’s more going on than just an honest mistake applying licenses. By contrast, the SAM group’s goal is not to punish anyone but rather to simply ensure that clients are looking at their software usage properly and are buying what they should be.

The other key distinction is that a SAM Baseline Assessment is not compulsory. There’s absolutely nothing in your EA or SelectPlus contract that compels you to participate in the activity. There are certainly clauses that pertain to Microsoft’s right to audit you (and you should be very familiar with those), but remember, the SAM Baseline Assessment is NOT an audit! And unless there’s a clear reason for Microsoft to believe that you’re out of compliance (typically, WAY out of compliance), it’s unlikely that the company will launch an official audit if you decline the SAM Baseline Assessment project.

So if you don’t have to, why would you WANT to do a SAM Baseline Assessment? Well, there are several good reasons.

First of all, Microsoft is willing to foot the bill. Building an ELP statement for a reasonably complex enterprise can be a time-consuming process. (See the sidebar “Preparing for a SAM Baseline Assessment” for more information on the process and its complexity.) Even using automated tools, you can easily spend $8,000, $10,000 or $20,000 – or more – developing your ELP statement. But as long as you’re willing share the final results of the project with the Microsoft SAM team, they’ll pay one of their SAM Gold Partners (such as CompuCom) to do the project for you. The only cost you bear is the internal resources needed to supply data.

Second, you may not know what you don’t know. We’ve already established that Microsoft licensing is complex. Throw in some of the latest changes around per-core versus per-processor SQL licensing and then add on virtualization, and you may not even be sure what all the parameters really are. We’ve seen several organizations go from compliance to violation just because of the latest license grants. And while Microsoft has committed to making customers whole in the process, you have to know what to ask for. By bringing in a specialist – one specifically trained in the intricacies of Microsoft licensing – to help craft your ELP statement, you’ll get the added benefit of some in-depth education.

The chances that you’ll hear from the Microsoft SAM team are very, very good. They’re committed to contacting every one of their customers over the next few years. And though the prospect may make you queasy – after all, nobody LIKES going through an audit, do they? – it would likely benefit your organization to engage in this exercise at least once. Depending upon the maturity of your SAM practice, it might even become an annual event, preceding your EA Renewal or True-Up. In fact, why wait? CompuCom’s SAM experts are prepared to help you complete an ELP statement at any time, regardless of whether or not you buy your software through CompuCom. If you desire, we’ll contact Microsoft on your behalf and see about getting the company to pay for a SAM Baseline Assessment. Or if you prefer, we can just leave Microsoft out of it and complete the assessment with you directly. And when we’re done with Microsoft … how does your Adobe licensing look?