ECS Launches Relay Server: Tackling Technology Debt and Migrating Even the Most Awkward Applications from Windows Server 2003

18 March 2015

  • New approach to migration tackles the growing problems of operational risk and technology debt by getting the business involved in IT decisions
  • Solves the challenge of how to migrate the approximately 50-80 per cent of ‘ignored’ applications residing on legacy server estates
  • Proven results for a large financial services client facing migrating applications on tens of thousands of servers. 

Fast-growing UK IT consultancy and services provider, ECS, today announced the launch of Relay Server, an innovative approach to Windows Server migration that ensures that even the most challenging applications can be migrated from Windows Server 2003. By addressing the thorny issues of operational risk and technology debt head-on, organisations achieve the long-term benefits associated with sustainable lifecycle management and compliance.

ECS Relay Server makes it possible for organisations to migrate the approximately 50-80 per cent of applications residing on legacy server estates that are typically ignored. As they cannot be decommissioned or easily replatformed, neither platform owner nor application owner assumes the responsibility for driving change. ECS takes the fresh approach of moving the responsibility for these applications away from the infrastructure teams to the application owner. This ensures that decisions are made based on their impact on the bottom line. ECS Relay Server supports the application owners with a set of tools and professional services to ensure no applications are left behind during the migration process.

ECS is already using Relay Server to help a large financial services firm migrate its more challenging applications that reside on thousands of Windows Servers.

The design of Relay Server builds on ECS’s extensive data centre migration experience and complements ECS Relay Desktop, which has been used to package and migrate thousands of desktop applications for many large UK corporates.

An end-to-end platform, ECS Relay features a planning and management platform, underpinned by an integrated workflow. It supports application discovery, analyses their role and helps organisations plan and manage migration programmes with minimum risk. It gives programme managers the ability to make informed decisions about each application, such as whether it needs to be decommissioned, upgraded, rewritten, kept as is, or replaced.

Microsoft support for Windows Server 2003 ends in July 2015, yet, approximately, eight million servers are still running this ten-year-old operating system. As well as potentially incurring high, extended support costs, continuing to use Windows Server 2003 may result in businesses failing to meet regulatory and compliance requirements.

“We estimate that, depending on the regulation for a particular industry sector, between 50 percent and 80 percent of all applications will be assigned to the software graveyard unless organisations take a whole new approach,” said Dave Foreman, Practice Director at ECS. “With most large corporations having steadily cut IT budgets since 2007, they have deferred decision-making about their Windows Server 2003 migration strategy, resulting in today’s substantial ‘technology debt’.”

“With Windows Server 2003 support coming to an end shortly, a new approach to application migration that allows for a comprehensive review of, and strategy for, legacy Windows estates is required. Our new offering does just this, while helping to mitigate risk and provide a robust lifecycle management methodology for the future,” said Paul Thomson, Group Chief Executive, ECS.

According to Dr. Katy Ring, Research Director, IT Services at 451 Research, "Most competitors focus either on the tooling, or on the wage arbitrage aspect of the service, while ECS is taking a refreshing outcome-based approach, based on the organisational dynamics behind each client’s application estate."

With Relay Server, ECS creates an actionable outcome for every application server, moving the responsibility from the platform team to the application owner and user of the service. As users better understand the implications of any changes to applications, they are in a stronger position to drive forward updates that minimise risk.

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