If you do decide to migrate there are a number of tools do exist to help ease the pain of migration. The Automatic deployment services (ADS) enables the rapid deployment of the operating system to multiple bare metal machines in a matter of minutes.
An updated version of the Active Directory Migration Tool lets users migrate passwords from Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 Server to Windows Server 2003 domains, but perhaps the most promising of all is the is the forthcoming Virtual Server product.
Available later this year, Virtual Server will enable organisations to run multiple Windows NT 4 instances on a single Win2003 server. According to Al Gillen, an analyst with IDC, customers will be able to 'run their NT 4 applications on modern hardware, and not be saddled with the support of older systems. This Microsoft hopes will finally be enough to tip the balance in favour of migration to Win2003.
Clearly there is a lot consider here and the decision to move to a new operating system is no snap decision for any IT department. According to the META Group continuing improvements in Windows Server will reduce ongoing operational costs, but must be balanced against the costs of the migration and potential short-term disruptions.
For NT4 users who are weighing up their options it is very much a stick and carrot scenario. The stick of course is the impending support deadline, but the carrot is the promise of improved manageability, performance, reliability and security brought by the advances made by Microsoft in Windows Server 2003.
This special report was produced independently of Microsoft.
Don't miss new special reports on Windows Server 2003 coming over the next few weeks.
Windows Server 2003 ships in five different editions, Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard, Web edition and Small Business.
More information can be found at www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/