Many server administrators who are managing computers running Windows Server 2003 today got their start managing servers running Windows NT 4 or Windows 2000. Server administrators are creatures of habit. They learn how to do something and, generally, they’ll keep doing it that way. It also means that they’ll tend to use the same features in the new operating system in the manner that they used them in the older version of the operating system.
I’ve seen quite a few systems administrators who manage Windows Server 2012 R2 in the same way that they managed Windows 2000. They use the same consoles. They avoid PowerShell. They only use the features in Windows Server 2012 R2 that were present in Windows 2000. When I ask them about why they don’t perform a specific task in another way, they say that as the old way worked for them, they didn’t look particularly hard at performing the task any other way given that they could get the job done.
These systems administrators are often unaware of new features in the operating system. While they know in an academic sense that the new operating system does new things in new ways, they don’t have time to do the new things in new ways because they are already overworked doing the old things in the old ways.
When planning a migration from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 R2, not only do you need to come up with a method of moving workloads and data from one platform to another, but you also need to upgrade the skills of the skillset of the team that will manage the new platform. If you don’t, they’ll probably just keep managing Windows Server 2012 R2 in the way that they managed Windows Server 2003. While this definitely keeps you on a supported operating system, it doesn’t allow you to leverage the benefits that the newer operating system brings to the table.
In the next blog post I provide some suggestions about how administrators that have been managing computers running Windows Server 2003 for some time can “skill up” so that they can take advantage of the features they might not know about in the new operating system.