Windows Server 2003: The Clock is Ticking

The end of life for Windows Server 2003 is just under six months away. IT Managers and Service Providers have indicated that the average migration can take upwards of 200 days.

The time is NOW to plan your migration!


Just as Windows XP reached the end of life in April of this year, the end is near for big brother – Windows Server 2003 which will reach the end of life status in July 2015. While the installed base of Windows Server 2003 is lower than XP as a total percentage of deployed systems, according to HP, there are an estimated 11 million systems still running the 11-year old Operating System.

No move is the worst move

Remaining stagnant and failing to address this significant change could be a costly move. According to a blog post on the Microsoft Partner UK Blog, support from Microsoft after the July 2015 deadline is estimated to run at a whopping $200,000 per year, a cost that is impossible for any small to mid-sized business to absorb. Delaying the decision to migrate to Windows Server 2012R2 is even worse as it is highly unlikely that Microsoft will extend its support for Windows Server 2003 which will result in further taxing already overworked IT departments.

Also, organizations or service providers who store sensitive or protected data, are mandated to use supported OSs. This is required to maintain regulatory compliance such as HIPAA. According to Microsoft, it takes an average of 200 days for a Windows Server migration.

If there has ever been a sense of urgency to get started migrating from Windows Server 2003, it’s now!

Plan your work and work your plan

A migration project of this magnitude requires significant consideration, coordination, and detailed planning. Microsoft states that planning a migration of any sort should include four steps:

  1. Discovering the existing environment;
  2. Assessing the required systems workloads;
  3. Determining where the workloads can be moved to, and finally,
  4. The migration of the workloads.

Included in the planning, of course, is the requirement for new hardware which brings up a major concern for most businesses – the potentially high purchase cost for capital equipment that supports a new 64 bit OS such as Windows 2012R2.

However, just as operating systems have advanced, so too has hardware technology and business software since the introduction of Windows Server 2003. Today, it is possible to eliminate the need to purchase hardware altogether and to offload some or all of these workloads into the cloud. This not only eliminates the requirement to purchase new hardware, but it also eliminates the need to purchase the new OS as cloud servers can be provisioned with the OS included in the monthly managed service cost. Moreover, it is possible to do more with less computing resources than before and, migrating to the cloud will deliver unmatched reliability and redundancy.

While the requirement to upgrade your OS may be daunting, it also represents an opportunity and to justify making material improvements to your IT systems without significant cost.

What is your migration plan? Does the end of Microsoft’s support for Windows Server 2003 affect your business? Have you completed the upgrade process or are you about to start? Do you plan to move your workload to the cloud?

Let us know your thoughts!

Jim Stechyson

A staggering number of businesses are using Windows Servicer 2003. As end of life concerns take precesence, is your organization prepared to replace this costly server?

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