As of September 2014, there were an estimated 23.8 million instances of Windows Server 2003 in operation. Windows Server 2003 reaches its end of life and end of support (EOS) on July 14, 2015. This is a great opportunity to help businesses look to the future, and understand that this EOS marks an opportunity for them to not only consider their OS, but the entire platform including the applications residing upon it.
All good things have to come to an end, while Windows Server 2003 will continue to operate after July 14, 2015, support for this operating system will end. This will have an impact to a large number of businesses and time is running out.
What ‘end of support’ means to businesses
No updates – 37 critical updates were released in 2013 for Windows Server 2003/R2 under Extended Support. No updates will be developed or released after end of support.
No compliance – Lack of compliance with various standards and regulations can be devastating. This may include various regulatory and industry standards for which compliance can no longer be achieved. For example, lack of compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards might mean companies such as Visa and MasterCard will no longer do business with you. Or, the new cost of doing business will include paying catastrophic penalties and astronomically high transaction fees.
No safe haven – Both virtualised and physical instances of Windows Server 2003 are vulnerable and would not pass a compliance audit. Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 servers are also affected.
Staying put will cost more in the end. Maintenance costs for aging hardware will also increase. Added costs will be incurred for intrusion detection systems, more advanced firewalls, network segmentation, and so on—simply to isolate Windows Server 2003 servers.
Many applications will also cease to be supported, once the operating system they are running on is unsupported. This includes all Microsoft applications.
Now is the time to act – You must start planning migration now.
Servers may still be running Windows Server 2003/R2 for a number of reasons.
These are key discussion points when talking about possible migrations:
- Perceived challenges of upgrading applications
- Presence of custom and legacy applications
- Budget and resource constraints
For small and midsize business, a server migration can take anything from 30-90 days and applications 60 days or more – depending on the complexity of the environment. So while 180 days might sound like a lot, time is short!
The end-of-support of Windows Server 2003 also impacts Small Business Server 2003 as well as the upcoming end-of-support for SQL Server 2005 as well as older versions of Exchange.
Tips on Migrating
When it’s time to migrate to a modern infrastructure, we’re recommending the use of a four-step migration process:
- Discover – catalog your software and workloads by discovering, inventorying, and analysing what is running in your environment.
- Assess – next, evaluate your applications and workloads, categorizing by type (Microsoft server roles, Microsoft applications, 3rd party applications, etc.), level of criticality, and level of complexity and risk.
- Target – then, you can determine the best target destinations for your apps and workloads based on your assessment. This may range from on-premises deployments to cloud deployments, including IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.
- Migrate – Finally, implement your migration. There are a range of tools and resources available to ease this process, whether migrating on-premises, in the cloud, or spanning across both.
Get in touch to find out more about migrating from Server 2003 or for assistance with migrating to a modern infrastructure.