Moving is never fun. That's true whether the move is between houses, offices or Microsoft (MSFT) Windows Server platforms. But for enterprises migrating from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012, Rackspace (RAX) hopes to make life a little easier with a "Cloud Assessment" tool it unveiled this week to help analyze and plan cloud computing needs on Server 2012.
With the latest service pack for Server 2003 now more than 6 years old, and with Server 2012 having been on the market for more than a year, it's making less and less sense to continue running Web and cloud applications on a server platform more than a decade old. Enough cloud users are apparently still doing so, however, that Rackspace thinks pushing them toward an upgrade to Server 2012 is worthwhile.
Its Cloud Assessment tool is designed to help in that process. Available as a download from the Rackspace website, it generates brief reports on server usage and makes recommendations about users' cloud resource needs.
The tool's usefulness is not limited strictly to planning migrations between Server 2003 and Server 2012, but that's one obvious use scenario. It's also one of the main reasons Rackspace seems to hope customers will deploy the program, which is not surprising given the increased revenue opportunities and simplified support that Rackspace stands to enjoy if more customers upgrade their cloud operating system.
And on that note, of course, it may be hard to treat the tool's recommendations are purely objective. Rackspace obviously has interests to protect and promote. Those include not only the Rackspace business itself but also the company's relationship with Microsoft, which has bestowed the "Hosting Partner of the Year" title on Rackspace four times. So encouraging customers to upgrade to the latest Windows Server release makes sense from a channel partner perspective, too.
Not that enterprises actually have too much of a choice in the matter. Microsoft will totally discontinue Windows Server 2003 support in 24 months, by which time all serious Rackspace customers had best be running Server 2012 or something else that has not reached its end of life.