I have an old standalone server box (32bit architechure) running WIndows Server 2003 Std. with 4MB RAM and I run multiple websites including Adobe Coldfusion version 7 in IIS6. I like to move that server to VMWare host ESXi V6 (newest & greatest CPU, RAM, hard drives , Coldfusion version 11).
I know I can use VMware vCenter Converter Standalone to move this Win2003 Server to VMWare host as Virtual Machine and so that I can run it on the new VMWare host and I don't have to do anything. That is not a problem.
However since these websites will be running off a new hardware, I like to upgrade current W2003 OS to either Windows 2008 32bit/64bit, Windows 2008 R2 64bit, Windows 2012 64bit or WIndows 2012 R2.
With that I have a few questions:
(1) Are there benefits in upgrading W2003 to W2008 or W2012?
(2) If I upgrade, how can I get W2003 upgraded to W2012 R2 (if W2012R2 is what is recommended)?
(3) Should I upgrade W2003 to W2008 on current box first and move it to VMWare host or move W2003 to VMWare first and perform an upgrade?
(4) Can you upgrade W2003 32bit OS to W2008 R2 64bit OS?