You were the ancient beige computer that took 10-15 minutes to reboot, and moved so slowly that I could hear your little 20GB hard drive crying out for help. In your defense, I never knew you in your prime. Before you had 10 years of security updates shoved down your throat. Coming 7/13/2010, all that will come to an end, and you can finally rest.
I work for a small business with 50 employees and 15 servers. On the surface, this seems ridiculous. Part of this is because of downsizing: 8 years ago, these 15 servers were modern, sleek, and serving twice as many employees. Part of this is because we offer many services to our employees that many small businesses do not: Two in house exchange servers, VPN, webserver, forums, redundant domain controllers, etc. But the largest part of this is because of a mentality that many businesses are stuck in. It worked yesterday, it worked today, why should I spend the money to upgrade it?
There’s some perfectly rational arguments to this.
- Each computer costs about $80-$120/year to run in electrical costs alone. (not counting cooling and IT maintenance/backups)
- They are slow, and out of date. Keeping them safe from attack, and reliable gets harder every day. What happens if the motherboard on a 10 year old domain controller dies? Sure, they can be replaced, but when a server gets THAT old, finding the right form factor can be a problem.
- There’s a right and a wrong way to stage servers. Sometimes you have to admit it’s time to move on to a better way of doing things.
- Computers don’t last forever. Sometimes they break, sometimes they obsolete themselves by becoming incompatible with the modern way of working, and sometimes their manufacturer puts them out of their misery by ending support. (see opening paragraph)
Which gets to the point of this post. We have six windows 2000 server which are reaching end of life very soon. They provide services like Authoritative and Secondary DNS, DHCP, File Serving, Exchange, Proxy, FTP, Software License Serving, and of course, two Domain Controllers. I will tell my story of moving on from this ancient equipment without losing data, ending services to our customers or employees, or spending piles of cash. (that last part is what makes this most difficult) Hopefully, my stories in the next few months will help others who are struggling to make this transition also.