How long is too long for an corporate OS ?

Working on a proposal for a prospective client I find myself metaphorically sitting in the IT managers seat wondering about the best way to approach the project they have outlined to me. Essentially its a total refresh of the infrastructure with a focus on the upgrading of  server operating systems tyo support new applications and devices. Virtualisation plays a role in the proposal but I have grave concerns about the client’s view of the likelihood of retaining the current status quo through a virtualisation. By that I mean just virtualising what is there at present is not a valid option. And why ?

The client infrastructure is still based on Windows NT – yes even after all this time. The pros are that it is relatively stable – hasn’t changed much in quite some time and has relatively well defined functionality.

From an IT manager’s viewpoint the balance between progress and stability is quite a tricky one since we all know what its like keeping various operating systems – desktop and server as well as line of business apps and office suites working together. However – what brought it home to me was a discussion with a colleague – where we tried to work out when we had last done a migration from NT and couldn’t accurately remember the year !!

Thinking as the architect of a solution then – NT as a virtualisation candidate is really not on the cards – not when the major (and minor) vendors do not support this in any way.

So in this case the project stops being a virtual conversion and likely  becomes a migration to a new domain o/s and then a server consolidation using virtualisation to achieve the flexibilty demands and business continuity requirements of the business.