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Analysis of Server Upgrade to Windows Server 2008

Introduction

Windows server 2008 is an operating software produced by Microsoft Corporation in 2008. It precedes server 2003; thus, is a superior version with a myriad of improvements in its features. Its production was motivated by the imminent need to correct the flaws of the 2003 version. These flaws mainly revolved on security and convertibility. Its improved features are the obvious reason, why many companies are racing to upgrade. Wing Tip Toys Company is not an exception. Being a medium sized company with slightly over 100 employees, Wing Tip Toys is keen to employ the services of an efficient server. At the same time, the management is alive to the fact that such an upgrade will eat up massive resources. In the light of this, the management is tasked with the delicate duty of ensuring that this expensive plan is executed with as minimal risks as possible. As a network administrator, I play a key role in advising the management on its ambitious endeavors. To do this from an informed position, I will analyze the implications of this upgrade both from a technical and business' points of view. A SWOT analysis presents the most authoritative tool for this.

SWOT analysis on the viability of upgrading to Server 2008

Wing Tip Toy's prospective upgrade is ambitious to say the least. It would require a fair proportion of both financial and material resources. Therefore, its success is pegged on the company's current and future financial stability. This financial stability is greatly influenced by the company's SWOT analysis, Vis a Vis the impending upgrades. This analysis is as discussed below:

Wing Tip Toy's SWOT analysis on the viability of upgrading to Server 2008

STRENGTHS Security; Server 2008 offers better security to clients. This is because it is equipped with a BitLocker technology that allows clients to encrypt their data. At the same time, server 2008 is designed to reject unauthorized booting. This keeps the hackers at bay, as compared to 2003 version. Upgrading to this server will secure Wing Tip Toy's confidential data and trade secrets from unscrupulous competitors and hackers alike. Consequently, the company will continue out-smarting its competitors by producing unique toys, as specified by the customers, who will use the new servers to communicate their special needs to the production team.Efficiency; Server 2008 is equipped with a feature called "the Core Server", which limits the command line environment and, thus, eases administration. This feature brings together crucial subsystems, like the file, networking and security sub systems. Upgrading to this server will, therefore, allow Wing Tip Toys' personnel to communicate more quickly and smoothly. Additionally, customer interaction with the company will be made easier and friendly. The benefit of this improved communication will be timely deliveries of both the raw materials and products from the suppliers and the production units, respectfully. At the same time, Wing Tip Toys stand a better chance to compete favorably in the market by acting on customer suggestions to win their loyalty, and, by extension, more market share.Profits; Server 2008 comes with a feature called "the server manager", which facilitates the assigning of various roles to the server's operators. With this feature, many tasks are handled by quite a few employees, unlike server 2003, where many employees had to share the roles. This means that should Wing Tip Toys upgrade to this server, it stands a chance to save on the labor costs in the long run. These savings will go a long way in funding the company's expansion projects in its bid to become a toy producer of choice.
WEAKNESSES Loss of customized company programs; Upgrading to server 2008 would require the company to change the assigned network roles in its previous server. This will be a huge set back to Wing Tip Toys, because it would require a fresh start. It would mean funding personnel's training on the new software handling, as well as setting up new customization protocols to make the software applicable to the company's operations. This will need both time and funds, which may significantly dent Wing Tip Toy's profit margin. What is more worrying is the high probability that the software may not be compatible with Wing Tip's mode of operations. Such a development would require the complete restructuring of the company's production plan, which may not be viable, given the available resources.Costs; Server upgrade from 2003 to the 2008 version would cost the company a considerable amount of money. It would make Wing Tip's management buy new servers, new licenses, fund employees' trainings, and budget for routine maintenance costs, until such a moment, when the company will be accustomed to the software.
OPPORTUNITIES Being a new server with improved features, server 2008 gives Wing Tip Toys a better chance to establish the competitive advantage in the market. Features like server manager and Core server will considerably reduce the challenges of administration in a medium sized company like Wing Tip Toys. At the same time, upgrading to the new server will allow the company to customize the software to suit its unique operations. This is made possible by the fact that the server comes with in-built software, which allows customization.
THREATS Compatibility headache; most of Microsoft's new products have continually failed the compatibility test. These new products are not always compatible with applications that were compatible with the earlier versions. In the view of this upgrade, there is an obvious risk that Wing Tip Toys may reap these faults associated with previous Microsoft software.Negative security reputation; Microsoft software has had many hacking cases to the extent that experts refer to it as a hacker's ‘darling software'. With the current trends showing that data security breaches are rising in the market, server 2008's security is one pressing question that needs to be deliberated at length before Wing Tip Toys pursues the upgrade.

Considerations of migrating to Server 2008 from both technical and business aspects

The above-constructed SWOT analysis of Wing Tip Toy's upgrade to server 2008 clearly shows that such a step has enormous impacts on the company. These impacts have both short and long term implications on the company's technical and business bearings. The short term impact would be a strain on the company's financial and material resources and, consequently, a slow growth. Naturally, this will be seen as a negative impact. However, the long term implications of this upgrade will carry out the benefits that would more than compensate the short term strains. From this, it is important to note that the key to the upgrade's success is timely execution and laying down a clear transition process that would cushion the company from the shocks occasioned by the server's upgrade. The following technical and business considerations should be closely observed during the upgrade:

Technical considerations

Wing Tip Toys should determine all the required hardware systems and acquire them in readiness for the shift to server 2008. This will include all the modifications necessary for the smooth upgrade to the new network. Wing Tip Toys will also consider equipping the employees with the requisite technical knowledge to run the new server network. This training should be concluded before the company fully switches to the new server, such that the transition should not cause undue hitches. It is also important that all the network administrators acquaint to the new features that come with server 2008. This is because this department will provide the interface, through which other departments will access, learn, and use the new server.

Secondly, the company should ensure that it contracts qualified and experienced consultants to oversee the server upgrade, so as to limit the chances of a backfire. This is so important since a lot of company's resources will be tied to this process; of course, not forgetting the fact that Wing Tip Toy's future rests on its successful take off. Thirdly, the company should choose the version that suits its operations as a toy producer. There are various versions to choose from, these include the Standard Edition, Datacenter Edition Enterprise Edition or Web Server, to mention but a few. Choosing a version will help in the customization of the software to suit toy production business.

Business considerations

As stated earlier, this upgrade will require a huge fraction of Wing Tip Toy's financial resources. On top of the initial cost of acquiring the new server, more funds will be required to put the necessary infrastructure in place for the new server to function. This budget will be further stretched by the costs of training the workforce on the new features of server 2008. Acquisition of licenses for the upgraded network system, and customization process also require certain funds. This adds up to the already staggering upgrade budget to give quite a massive strain to Wing Tip Toy's balance sheet.

In the face of these business aspects, Wing Tip Toys should set aside a big enough budget to avoid any catastrophic effects on its production schedules. Additionally, the company should purge up its marketing strategy with the aim of increasing its revenue from sales. Should it be necessary, the company must acquire credit on time to ensure timely take off of the server upgrade.

Viable step-by-step migration plan

The first and the most crucial step for Wing Tip Toys is to study both business and technical effects that will come along with this upgrade. Specifically, the company should compare the costs involved with the move and the expected return on investment. If the return on investment is worth the cost, the company should then set aside the requisite budget and embark on the upgrade.

The next step will be the selection of a version that best suits Wing Tip Toy's production. Perhaps the best version would be the Enterprise version. Once the selection has been done, the company's network administration then familiarizes with the unique features of this server 2008 version and makes recommendations of the possible system customization.

Next will be the confirmation of system requirements and the acquisition of all the missing system components. Server 2008 requires the following minimum hardware requirements:

  • Minimum processor power should be 1.4 GHz for both server 2008 and 2008 R2;
  • A 512 MB Random Access Memory(RAM) ;
  • A Super VGA Video adapter and monitor of dimensions (800 × 600);
  • A minimum Hard Drive Disk of 20GB;
  • Necessary optical devices like the DVD-ROM, mouse and keyboard.

Once all the necessary hardware requirements are in place, the company's data is then saved or backed up for future incorporation into the new server, which will be done during the customization stage. Of course, there should be a stand by the server to take over the routine server roles during the live staging of the migration process.

Since the company is currently running its operations on server 2003, the next step will be to incorporate all the system roles into the new server through clustering. Clustering simply means amalgamating various roles and assigning it to one system tool. Clustering is only possible with server 2008. The migration process is complete when all previous respective roles of server 2003 have been incorporated into the new system.

Benefits of Server 2008 to Wing Tip Toys

Wing Tip Toys will benefit from server 2008's improved features. These include improved administration and relay of information from the managers to the workers by utilizing the core server features, which reduce command line environment. This ensures timely relay of the crucial product information. Additionally, the improved security provided by the Bit lock technology will protect Wing Tip Toys from hackers and prevent loss of crucial data.

3 new features in Server 2008 that will make Wing Tip Toys effective

Improved Active Directory roles; Server 2008 has unique features like the Active Directory Certificate Services (ADCS). This feature will enable Wing Tip Toys to closely interact in real time with the various departments, as well as with the customer. This is because the feature allows trusted individuals (mostly return customers) to log into Wing Tip Toy's network and place orders. Consequently, there will be prompt product and delivery of toys, since information is shared in real time.

Failover Clustering; This feature will make Wing Tip Toys efficient in its production and sale of toys. This is because the feature allows assigning of many roles into one utility tool. As such, the company will be able to produce many toys in a short period with limited costs, since many tasks will be done by few workers; hence, saving on the labor costs.

Self-healing NTFS; Server 2008 will help Wing Tip Toys to save a lot of money from losses occasioned by errors in a given toy design. This is because it comes with an application known as self-healing NTFS, which allows the system to isolate the error and institute corrective measures without requiring a total make up of the design, which would be expensive. This will cut production time loss and, subsequently, allow Wing Tip Toys to meet supplier deadlines and targets.

Strategy to provide secure network to Wing Tip Toy's remote satellite offices

Given the rising online security breaches, providing a secure network for Wing Tip Toys will require the use of competent online security features as discussed below. These strategies will be reached after assessing the company's vulnerable areas.

  1. The first step would be to institute a network security policy that clearly states how the company's network will be used. This will include which authorized personnel and in what way will use Win Tip Toys' emails and the internet;
  2. Next will be the institution of data security policies. Herein, I will stipulate, who has the access passwords to the network, and how often should these passwords be changed and controlled;
  3. As is necessary, I will recommend that the company trains its workers on safe internet use and computer awareness, so as to limit loopholes that the hackers might capitalize on;
  4. I will then lay down an elaborate disaster recovery from the unlikely event of data loss and contingency plan;
  5. As a general measure, I will make use of fix up protocols. Fix up protocols are applications that act as proxies but are indeed agents that distinguish authorized logins from the unauthorized ones. It is designed to lock out illegitimate connections by allowing temporary inbound connections from a remote office and closing it up when the connection is no longer required. This will allow Wing Tip Toy's workers to login and out of the network from remote locations by using a special password.

Comparison of Toyota Australia's cloud software migration with Win Tip Toy's server 2008 migration

In 2011, Toyota Australia has moved its car dealer services to the cloud based management systems offered by the Fujitsu data centre. Their migration to the new software was different to the Wing Tip Toy's migration in that whereas Australia Toyota opted for a transition of its existing car dealer software, Wing Tip Toys embarked on a complete restructuring of its server. Toyota simply changed part of its software, while Wing Tip Toys migrated to a new server 2008.