When you see a server that is in pain, struggles to keep moving on and has little hope of ever being up to date, as a responsible admin, you need to step in.
Three weeks ago, I stepped in. We set out to boost up the morale of these boxes and end up with at least a manageable environment. To avoid any problems, we made clones of the servers and booted them up on another virtualization host. It turned out this host had more headroom than the server we were on previously, so throughout our further efforts we experienced a significant speed boost.
With a fresh copies of the Windows Server 2008 x86 DVD ISO in our hands, we upgraded the boxes running the DirTeam.com / ActiveDir.org weblogs away from the aging Windows Server 2003 legacy that was hunting us. These upgrades went without a hitch. After upgrading and running Windows Update for a while, the servers were running fine. Fine? Great, actually! With Windows Server 2008 on these boxes, the gains from the virtualization platform felt doubled.
Off course, upgrading Windows Server with several flavours of SQL Server, MySQL Server and .Net Framework on them, still felt like it might give some problems. We found one, with the IIS 7 request filtering module, but fixed it within minutes using the information from IIS.Net. From there on we switched the outside connection for the website from the old Windows Server 2003 boxes to the new boxes. We kept the old boxes running for the past three weeks, but this week I'll give the nod to delete them.
I hope you, the loyal visitor of our website, enjoy the new speed of the website!
(We'll be planning our next upgrade shortly)