Microsoft Server 2003 EOS – Are you ready?

Lawrence Jones

Thursday 4 December 2014

On July 14, 2015, systems administrators across the world will raise a glass to toast the passing of Microsoft Server 2003 as the company finally ends its support for the product. Estimates vary, but tens of millions of machines across the world – some dealing with mission-critical information – are still powered by this remarkably popular solution. Microsoft is keen to migrate users to its new, cloud-based server programme, but what do you need to do to ease the transition, and is it worth it?

Keen to ease the changeover, Microsoft has created its own migration plan, transitioning services to its modern incarnation, the cloud-based Microsoft Server 2012.

Alongside a large ticking clock counting down the hours until support ends, the company’s website offers numerous tools for the user, including a comprehensive assessment and planning toolkit, an option to re-architect your solution and even a trial version you can download and test.

For organisations with the capability and capacity, you can manage your own migration. Microsoft has produced a step-by-step guide covering installation, access and removal. For those confident at working through the transition, it should be simple enough to follow.

Online, there are a variety of tutorials, covering the various options for your migration, including Active Directory, Hyper-V and IP Configuration. It’s up to you to choose which one is most appropriate for your business.

If you don’t have the capacity, or don’t want the hassle, there are options including a partnership programme or a full service offer, all available at a cost.

Thinking big

The change to Server 2012 offers businesses the chance to assess their requirements and make more fundamental changes.

In the tech world, it’s not just the software that might need to be upgraded, it might be your skills too. Putting your migration plan in the trusted hands of the existing team could cause some issues, so why not take the time to invest in some training and development in order to smooth the change?

The new server applications require much greater processing power and memory requirements, which could create some serious issues for your hardware. Take the opportunity to assess your requirements, now and in the future.

It’s also a good time to look at just what elements your organisation uses – and indeed how it uses them – to ensure that your new system is fit for purpose and stripped of waste.

Do nothing?

While support will cease in July, the software won’t magically disappear, so why not stick with Server 2003? The answer is pretty obvious – security. As updates end, your system will become exposed to an ever-growing array of threats, many being capable of wreaking havoc with your systems and therefore your business.

Migration might be an unwanted expense, but it’s not about whether you can afford the change, it’s about whether you can afford not to.