Why a Stateful Re-Install of Legacy Applications on Modern Servers is Always the Best, First Step

Install scripts are missing, developers are gone, application owners have left, and new owners don’t understand their applications. If you don’t discover and inherit the current state of legacy production applications, moving them to new servers will break them.
At VirtaMove, we understand that the current state of production applications matters a great deal, even if you’re considering a future upgrade to a new version or planning remediation or re-development of an app on a modern platform. We successfully discover and automate the stateful re-install of Windows 2000, WS2003, and WS2008 applications on new virtual machines and servers running WS2012, WS2016, and WS2019.


What is a Stateful Re-Install?

Most applications are stateful, which means that historical data (such as user privileges, preference, and configuration data) persists and is needed from one session to another. Patches are applied; the application evolves, and all those changes become as mission-critical as the app itself. A stateful re-install lets you move your legacy app forward and inherit, or bring along, state.

Figure 1 illustrates four stages of a legacy app state move. By Stage 3, you’ve moved forward and re-installed your legacy app on a new, modern server. Beyond Stage 3, you can plan for app remediation or upgrade as your resources and budget allow. In a future blog, we’ll discuss a possible Stage 5, which involves Windows Server containerization and micro-service app re-development.


Figure 1: The Four Stages of a Legacy App Move


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

  • A re-install closes known security exposures on old W2K and WS2003 servers.
  • Your apps will run on a supported OS, and your IT audit and compliance teams will be happy.
  • Running on new hardware improves performance. New servers run faster.
  • It’s a chance to reconfigure where apps run. Apps can be split and installed on separate servers or consolidated on a single server.
  • By inheriting state, you can then easily do an in-place upgrade of the app to a new version without breaking configuration data.
  • Once moved, legacy apps can be remediated or re-developed using the tools and techniques available on a modern platform, and you can address security vulnerabilities.
  • A stateful re-install minimizes the need to train users on a new version of an app.
  • A legacy re-install provides a logical roll-back point for apps on new servers just in case an upgrade reveals deprecated features or other operational issues.
  • Software components, such as IIS and SQL, can be upgraded during the move. New software runs faster, is more secure, and provides advanced features.


Squeeze More Life out of Legacy Apps

VirtaMove moves legacy applications forward and extends their useful life. If you have functional or security improvements for the app, you can plan for and address them as time and budget permit. You can make changes and manage the legacy application using a conventional change management process.

An automated stateful re-install takes much less time than a manual re-installation. In typical IT operations environments, VirtaMove software provides a ten times improvement in the number of applications that can be re-installed and cut-over into production by a trained app mover in one month.

VirtaMove gives legacy applications a second life. It’s always the best, first step, even if you’re thinking of app remediation or upgrading to a new version. If you’d like to understand more about stateful re-installation and what VirtaMove does, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are pleased to share what we know.