If your organization is still running Windows NT in its environment, you're more than likely running it on older hardware, which can be much more prone to failure than today's newer, faster, and more reliable servers. You may also have purchased an expensive hardware maintenance contract for your older NT servers to protect against the inevitable problems with aging hardware.
Of course, now that Microsoft has discontinued support for Windows NT, it's only a matter of time before you'll need to upgrade your systems. One way you can buy yourself a little time is to move your NT servers to virtual machines hosted by VMware or Virtual Server 2005. In addition to providing the company with more time before eradicating NT, this approach can also help save money and provide a higher degree of reliability.
In the past, in order to take advantage of VMware or other virtual server products, you still needed to reload a server--virtual or not--and migrate its contents. Or, you had to rely on complicated tools, such as Microsoft's Virtual Server Migration Toolkit, to help automate the transition.
Now, thanks to a new tool from PlateSpin called PowerP2V, you can automatically migrate almost any server from the confines of its physical hardware to a running virtual server, and the process requires very little manual intervention. While it isn't quite as simple as the "drag-and-drop" process touted by PlateSpin's marketing department, it's not too difficult either.
As long as your physical Windows NT server meets certain minimum requirements, such as Windows NT Service Pack 6a, and you don't need specialized hardware to perform a particular service on your physical server, you can migrate the machine with ease. In addition, your savings can quickly add up when you start looking at how much it would cost to manually reload a system to make it virtual.
For more information about PowerP2V, check out the PlateSpin Web site.
Scott Lowe MCSE is currently the IT director for a national legal association, where he runs the day-to-day operations, plans the long-term strategy of the IT group, and provides technical advice and assistance to the membership.