I know you all followed my advice and gotten your copy of the Windows Server 2003 (Win2K3)Customer Preview and that you've set up your testing lab and begun to put the new operating system through its paces.
Besides simply running through the new features of Win2K3, you'll want to start planning your migration to the new operating system. I believe you should start with your users' desktops rather than the servers. XP Professional on the desktop is what you should aim for, but Windows 2000 Pro will do. Just be sure to weed out all those pesky Windows 9x and ME desktops before upgrading your servers - why ask for trouble?
When planning for the server migration though, you should first look to your Domain Controllers (DC). Active Directory is much improved in Win2K3, so care must be taken.
Fortunately, Microsoft is presenting a Webcast next week (Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2003) on just this subject.
Entitled "Upgrading Windows 2000 Domains to Windows Server 2003", the Webcast will provide a framework to follow when upgrading Windows 2000 DCs to Windows Server 2003.
The topics that will be covered include:
- Pre- and post-upgrade checks.
- ADPREP, a Win2K3 utility that extends the schema, updates default security descriptors of selected objects, and adds new directory objects as required by some applications.
- A discussion of client interoperability issues (see note above about upgrading users' desktops).
This all leads up the introduction of Windows Server 2003 DCs and upgrading Win 2000 DCs with the DCPROMO tool.
There's no need to pre-register for this Webcast, just browse over to http://invite.mshow.com/sdsmshowclient?shownum=85123 a few moments before it's scheduled to start. It will, most likely, be available for replay after that - but you might as well try to see it live.
If you haven't ordered the customer preview, or if you have but still haven't installed it - get moving! Seriously, this Webcast will be useful to you, too. In fact, once you see what's involved in upgrading your DCs, it might spur you to get started playing with the new operating system in your test lab, and that's a real good thing.