For most of the last decade and a half, group policy has been the primary method through which organizations manage the configuration of desktop computers and servers. When migrating from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 R2, especially when performing a migration to a new forest, you’ll need to make an assessment of how you currently, and will continue, to use group policy.
Group policy certainly isn’t going away in future versions of Windows Server. However if you look at the Ignite session catalog, there’s only one session with the words “Group Policy” in the title. In this mobile first / cloud first future that is being drawn out, it’s hard to figure out the place of strongly on-premises technology like Group Policy. To wax hypothetical, I suspect the future of client management might look a lot more like the Intune console than it does the group policy management console.
But if WINS is still in Server vNext, you can bet your bottom dollar that Group Policy isn’t going anywhere in the next decade. Not going away, but probably not changing all that much either. If today’s workplace involves people using whatever device they want to use to perform their tasks, it’s necessary to have a tool that can manage the configuration of all those devices. Maybe that is group policy. Or maybe it’s some hybrid of Intune or Configuration Manager. Don’t mind me, I’m just speculating.
In terms of assessing Group Policy in your current environment – you need to get a handle on the following questions:
- What GPOs exist
- How are those GPOs applied
Some organizations have terribly intricate group policy configurations. Other organizations don’t have much configured beyond the default password policy.
In this next article, I’ll discuss the tools you can use to migrate GPOs from one forest or domain to another forest or domain.