Even though I
am (allegedly) a computer expert, I have a cavalier approach to installing. For software to get the
'Guy seal of approval', it must pretty much install itself, it certainly should
not require me to read the instructions before I can try it out. I don't
mind clicking the 'Next' button, or typing the occasional keyword, but any
installation causing brain-ache, or requiring a degree in mind reading, fails the Guy
I installed the MAPSA tool on a Domain Controller. The wizard even
produced an Excel spreadsheet summarizing the reports and proposals for all the
W2K3 servers and XP machines on my network.
What's new with MAPSA is the ability to assess XP or Vista machines for
Office 2007. Also If you check the box, Microsoft's SoftGrid would
identify applications that could run in a virtual server.
Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator does an excellent job - even in the hands
Guy, the installer from hell.
uses WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation to interrogate the operating system. It queries
hundreds of Win32 objects, and thus discovers information about hardware devices and software versions. The
benefit of establishing a SQL database is that the Wizard can lookup the results against
a knowledgebase. I assumed that this is how it deduces which
Windows Server 2008 edition to recommend for a given memory,
and CPU configuration.
As a bonus, the MAPSA report indicates which roles you should consider for
your Windows Server 2008 machine.
If you have an Active Directory domain, then the
Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator uses that database to
locate the computers so that it can run a battery of tests.
It is also possible to run the Wizard on an individual machine. A thought
just crossed my mind, I must look for an old machine with moody
software, just to see what recommendations the Wizard would make to bring the machine to
Windows Server 2008 readiness.
you need to open up a
number of TCP Ports for WMI and DNS to find computers on the network, for example, open ports, 135, 137, 138, 139 and 445. Hmmm,
I may as well temporarily disable the firewall!
Incidentally, the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator
utility is in the same branch of the family as XP's Upgrade Advisor. I
think of this MAPSA as son of WVHA, which in turn, was son of Upgrade Advisor.
All members of this family branch are free and well behaved! Get your copy
from Microsoft's site.
Guy Recommends: SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper (NTM)
NTM will produce a neat diagram of your network topology. But that's
just the start;
Network Topology Mapper can
create an inventory of the hardware and software
of your machines and network devices. Other neat features include dynamic
update for when you add new devices to your network. I also love the ability to export
to Microsoft Visio.
Finally, Guy bets that if you test drive the Network Topology
Mapper then you will
find a device on your network that you had forgotten about, or someone else
installed without you realizing!
The best feature of the Vista Hardware Assessment report is the way that it spells out
precisely what you must do to bring your computers up to Windows Server 2008
standard, for example, increase RAM or buy a bigger hard disk. When you drill down to the detail, the report even tells you
which drivers are included on the Server 2008 DVD, and which you need to obtain from the manufacturer's site.
One pleasant surprise is that the MAPSA wizard reports on the software that is installed. None of my
machines had any incompatible software. I felt like going out and looking for some incompatible
programs, just to see how the Wizard reported software that would not run on
Windows Server 2008.
You could argue that
the Assessment Wizard is worth running just to get a detailed inventory of the hardware components and device drivers for each machine on your network. That view may be overplaying the usefulness of this
MAPSA tool, but
nevertheless, the sheer detail of the Wizards output means that there is some fascinating snippet for everyone.
This is a free add-on, so it's best to get your copy from Microsoft's
Download Center. As MAPSA replaces WVHA, there have been a few changes to the
precise URL. This was the link I used for my last
MAP SA download.
When you install MAPSA on Windows Server 2003 (also on Vista or XP), the
Setup Wizard guides you through the installation of SQL 2005
Express. Just look for the option: Download and install Microsoft SQL
Server 2005 Express.
Other Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Migration Tools
Microsoft's - "Works with Windows Server 2008" tool. Handy for
Microsoft's - "Certified for Windows Server 2008" tool
Summary of Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Solution Accelerator
Upgrading a server to a newer version of the operating system can be a
nerve-racking business. When it comes to evaluating Windows Server 2008,
the Microsoft Assessment wizard reduces some of that worry.
Remember that the MAP SA wizard produces an Excel spreadsheet with multiple worksheets,
so make sure you check the tabs at the bottom.
If you like this page then please share it with your friends