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Windows File Server 2003 End of Support: The Fast Route

Here’s the bad news: If you’re in the 20% of companies that don’t yet have migration plans for Microsoft 2003 server support, you have only four months to do so.

At the end-of-support date (July 14th) you will have two options if you’re still running Windows 2003 servers – continue to run them without support, which is risky (certainly for an extended period), or pay Microsoft a hefty $600 per server per year for special maintenance.

Server migration can be a long and painful process, lasting up to 18 months per enterprise according to this study.

server migration too slow?But there’s good news too: Among the 20M+ Microsoft 2003 servers out there, some are used as file servers, and for those there is an option to replace those filers with a hybrid solution that can be deployed very rapidly – and provides a host of other benefits including lower TCO, centralized management and disaster recovery capabilities.

I’m talking about CTERA’s Cloud Storage Gateways, that have been deployed in 10,000s of sites to date, and have saved our customers cumulatively more than $100M (yes, that’s right – one hundred million dollars US).

We already highlighted the cost benefits in a previous blog post and a report by Enterprise Strategy Group. There are also other benefits, such as centralized management, built-in security and cloud-based disaster recovery. But I’d like to elaborate a little on the speed of migration – another significant advantage of replacing Microsoft servers with cloud storage gateways.

Hours, not days nor weeks
So how difficult is it to migrate an existing file server to a CTERA cloud storage gateway? It’s not.
It involves a few straightforward steps:

  1. On the Windows file server, set up ACL (access control list) Emulation Mode shares on the network
  2. On the CTERA gateway, set up similar ACL Emulation Mode share using a wizard or automation script (see below)
  3. Copy each share from the file server to the CTERA gateway (done over SMB/CIFS)
  4. Migrate the ACLs to the gateway using a simple line command
  5. Voila! All files and user permissions are now migrated

The whole process can take up to several hours, depending on how many shares and how much data you’re migrating. However, the cherry on top is that this process can easily be replicated with automation scripts – so if you maintain similar ACL structure across multiple file servers, you can repeat the process with very little additional effort.

A Fortune 100 financial services firm was thus able to migrate many thousands of Windows file servers using this processes with the space of a few months.

So you can either take the scenic route to migrate your file servers, or take the fast lane with CTERA cloud storage gateways – also gaining other benefits and reducing your dependence on Microsoft.

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