It’s time to act and start addressing the technical deficit of Legacy Windows Server applications

Not sure why IT became so clogged with Legacy Windows Server applications? It could be because:

  • outsourcing became a trend in the Great Recession of 2008;
  • turnover of IT staff is high, and developers and owners of legacy applications retired or left;
  • applications aged and the organization lost control of them.

Regardless, many organizations have lost knowledge and control of the Windows Server applications that run their business. Tens of millions of WS2000, WS2003, and WS2008 applications are still being used in production.

Teams are virtually in the dark about the applications installed on legacy servers. They don’t know which apps are still used, which are broken, or how much disk storage, memory, or processor workload each app requires. Subject Matter Experts, who hold the knowledge about applications, are often outsourced roles and frequently inherit the app from a previous app owner.

With so little app knowledge, it’s no surprise that organizations are reluctant to move apps from unsupported, risky W2K, WS2003, and WS2008 environments and re-install and run them on modern WS2012, WS2016, and WS2019 servers. It seems insurmountable to move apps to new servers and to remediate and modernize them. IT is effictively blocked from moving to the future. If IT is frozen in the past, you’ve lost a key competitive advantage, because new software and IT services are eating the world.

If you want to stop talking and act, here are two vital steps that will let you take back control of legacy apps and start making them work better on new, secure, modern Windows Servers.

Step 1: Monitor your apps

To get started, you need information and knowledge. The first step is to use automated monitoring to get a “full picture” of your IT infrastructure and applications. Monitoring gives you insights into the entire application portfolio in IT. It offers insight into what’s running on specific servers, who is using which apps, and how apps are being used.

What does application monitoring get you? It lets you track:

  • applications that are being used on specific servers;
  • app users, and when they’re using them;
  • functions or features used;
  • dataflows between apps on different servers;
  • dependencies between apps.

You get visibility into apps that are no longer used, so you can decommission them. You’ll see which apps are in demand and may need a server upgrade, and which apps might be candidates to move to the Cloud.

Monitoring helps size apps and reveals how much memory, storage, and processing will be needed to move apps to new VMs or servers. Intelligent app monitoring reveals dependencies and stack components that need to move.

Monitoring is the first step in re-establishing knowledge and control over your apps. It’s a first step in developing a plan to modernize your apps.  It makes modernizing and moving apps much simpler and easier.

Step 2: Get a stateful re-install of legacy apps on modern servers

If you want to move forward with application remediation or redevelopment, your first best step is re-installing legacy apps on new servers with modern operating systems. Re-installing extends the useful life of legacy apps. You don’t need install scripts.

If an app needs functional improvements after you’ve moved it, you can plan and address improvements over time, as your budget permits, using a conventional change management process. The big bonus is that you can do all this in a modern server environment.

There are many advantages to a stateful re-install of legacy applications on a new server with a modern operating system. Benefits include:

  • Closing known security exposures on W2K, WS2003, and WS2008 servers.
  • Eliminating WannaCry and NotPetya malware risks. New hardware also closes Spectre and Meltdown security holes. Your apps will run on a supported OS and your IT audit and compliance teams will be happy.
  • New hardware that improves performance. New servers run faster. You’ll get more work done with your existing apps.
  • It allows applications to be split and installed on separate servers or apps can be consolidated and installed on a single server. You get to balance and reconfigure where apps run.
  • Some application software components, such as IIS and SQL, can be upgraded on-the-fly for new servers.
  • It reduces application clutter, cleans up log files, eliminates unnecessary apps, and lets you run modern datacenter, VM, or Cloud management tools. It also reduces OS patch management.
  • Most importantly, a stateful re-install doesn’t break your configuration. The apps still work on the new servers and modern operating systems. Plus, you get to undertake remediation using all the dev tools available on a modern OS.

Think about it: you’re just two steps away from dealing with the technical deficit of legacy apps. Acting will give you back control and competitiveness.

If you’d like to understand more about how VirtaMove can help you move forward, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are pleased to share what we know.