This chapter provided an overview of the key planning steps to deploying Windows Server 2003 as soon as possible.

You first learned the steps involved in putting together a phased implementation plan. Our plan consists of several phases — essentially labs, pilot projects, and conversion. We also advise you to study as much documentation on the technology as possible before testing and deployment. A good example of understanding the technology is understanding that Windows Server 2003-DNS, Windows Server 2003-WINS, and Windows Server 2003-DHCP are ideal role servers to install in the existing environment (whether it's Windows NT or something else). Only after you know what you are dealing with can you move forward and test key solutions.

One of the prime objectives of the corporate lab, for example, is to test how well Windows Server 2003 behaves in a production NT environment or how NT behaves on a Windows 2003 domain, but just installing the server and watching it sit on the network serves little purpose. You need to devise specific experiments that test the new technology that you have learned about with applications and technology that you currently have in place.

After the lab phase, you need to roll out a pilot project, which gives you the capability to test your solutions in a controlled production environment. If you are not ready yet to test or deploy Windows 2003, now is the time to get your Windows NT infrastructure in shape so that your conversion is a lot easier whenever it occurs.

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