Microsoft Server 2003 – why EOS opens up opportunity

Mark Samuels

Monday 19 January 2015

The imminent demise (July 2015) of Server 2003 is nothing new; its end of life has been on the radar for a couple of years. However, the operating system has been used for more than a decade and remains the basis for many production systems.

Server 2003 is basically an enhanced server-side version of its client compatriot, Windows XP. The PC operating system reached end of life in April 2014, after which time users stopped receiving support or security updates.

It’s a similar tale now for businesses still using Server 2003, many of whose IT managers will have been thinking about the demise for at least a year or so. Thinking, however, is not doing – and the imminent end of life means IT managers must find a way to break their relationship with Server 2003.

Microsoft suggests migration should consist of four key stages: discovering the existing environment, assessing workloads, determining where those workloads can be moved to, and the actual migration of the workloads.

Just as was the case with XP, end of life means end of support. Microsoft released as many as 37 critical updates for Server 2003 through 2013, without which the system might have been unstable and unusable. Add in a lack of compliance with various standards, and a lack of application support, and IT managers will simply not be able to rely on a critical operating system that has passed it sell-by date.

It’s also worth considering that 10 years is an awfully long time in IT development. Since Windows 2003 was launched, the world has gone mobile, the amount of data has mushroomed and many business processes have moved to the cloud.

A migration to Windows Server 2012 allows IT managers to take advantage of this move towards digital technology, with improved performance, security and functionality. A move to a modern platform will also allow you to transition some services and workloads to the cloud.

In any event, with some IT managers suggesting it takes 200 days to migrate the average Windows Server, if you haven’t started to do so already, your business must now prepare for life after 2003.