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Creating an Upgrade and Installation Plan

Thorough planning will help your deployment run smoothly. In addition to using the flow chart in the previous section, use the following guidelines to help you create a member server upgrade and installation plan:

  • If necessary, modify any existing network design documents to reflect your current server environment.
    If you do not have an up-to-date network diagram, consider creating one before proceeding with a network upgrade.

  • Examine the existing network infrastructure for:

    • Software compatibility

    • Interoperability needs

    • Hardware needs

  • Address the following questions:

    • How many new member servers are needed?

    • Which member servers should be upgraded?

    • Which member servers should be replaced with new hardware before upgrading?

  • Document changes in your current network environment and identify related planning considerations.

  • If needed, create a test environment so that member servers that might have incompatible software can be tested before being deployed.

Create a Schedule

When you upgrade servers, interruptions of network services commonly occur. To minimize this risk, create an upgrade timeline that decreases downtime during business hours. To construct a timeline and upgrade schedule, consider the following:

Amount of time to allow for the installation or upgrade of a single server    The amount of time required to upgrade a server varies depending on hardware speed and the number and type of applications and services you want to install after installing the operating system. Experienced administrators can install or upgrade the operating system on a single server in about one hour. However, it can take several hours to days to evaluate the installation and test the server before you actually put it into production on the network.

Implementation of new services and features of Windows 2000 Server    After you have installed or upgraded a server, you can configure it with new services or features. This involves testing the server in a test lab environment before installing it on the production network.

Scenario: Minimizing Network Downtime During Server Upgrade

One of the best ways to minimize downtime is to install or upgrade member servers in phases. For example, a network with a total of 70 servers is running Microsoft® Windows NT® Server version 4.0 and has different types of member servers. In addition to the existing member servers, the administrator references the network growth analysis and decides that five additional servers are needed to account for network growth in the next year. For other servers and clients to still have access to the Internet, files, and applications, the administrator cannot upgrade all the servers at once. The type and amount of each group of member servers on this example network are as follows:

  • Five file servers (will add one new file server)

  • Ten application servers (will add one new application server)

  • Ten IIS servers

  • Five fax servers

  • Five proxy servers

  • Ten routers (will add one new router

  • Five Routing and Remote Access servers (will add one new Routing and Remote Access Server)

  • Fifteen print servers (will add one new print server)

  • Five SQL database servers

First, the administrator determines how long it will take to upgrade each group of member servers. The administrator decides to take one of each type of server offline and upgrade and test them during normal business hours, leaving the rest of the servers online and functioning. If the upgrade and tests go well, the rest of the servers will be upgraded at night after normal business hours, allowing the upgraded servers to handle the network services. The installation of the additional servers will be done after all of the original servers are upgraded. This will allow time to configure the services and components of the new servers.

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