Microsoft releases tool for file server migration

Rounding out its set of free migration software to get users off aging platforms, Microsoft Corp. Monday made available a toolkit to help users move files from Windows NT or 2000 to Windows Server 2003.

The File Server Migration Toolkit is the second simple server migration tool that Microsoft has developed to help small and medium-sized businesses move off older operating systems onto new technology. Microsoft also is releasing a set of guidelines called the "Solution Accelerator for Consolidating and Migrating File and Print Servers." Microsoft previously released a migration toolkit and set of guidelines for migration from NT to Windows 2000's Active Directory.

Microsoft is prodding users to move off of the aging Windows NT 4.0 platform, a legacy server for which Microsoft will discontinue support at the end of this year.

The free file server tools are simple tools that help users move files from one platform to the other. More sophisticated tools, which include such features like capacity planning, are available from third parties such as Quest Software, NetIQ, and Bindview.

"The Microsoft toolkit is pretty straightforward and complements its other migration tools," says William Hurley, an analyst with Enterprise Application Group. Hurley says the big benefit of the file server migration toolkit is a wizard so users can migrate files to the Distributed File System (DFS) technology in Windows Server 2003. DFS is a network server component that makes it easier for users to find and manage data on a network.

"The wizard makes the migration a one-step process instead of a two-step process," says Hurley.

The DFS Consolidation Root Wizard helps administrator configure DFS to maintain the original Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path of files after they are moved off of NT.

The second component of the toolkit is the File Server Migration Wizard, which moves files and their current security settings between the old and new operating systems.

"This is not an attempt to monetize the tool business," says Radhesh Balakrishnan, technical product manager for next-generation file and print at Microsoft. "But a sizeable amount of customers are saying, 'Give us a tool that is good enough.' So we provide file server migration from Point A to Point B and make sure that end users are not disrupted."

Balakrishnan says Microsoft is hoping to educate users on the benefits of Windows Server 2003 and its Windows SharePoint Services extension. "We look at those two as the next generation of file serving." He says the combination offers better storage and version control mechanisms, among other enhancements.

The File Server Migration Toolkit is available now in English and will be updated by early June with support for German, French, Spanish and Japanese.

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