With just over 60 days remaining before Microsoft withdraws support for Windows Server 2003 many businesses are wondering where to go next or if to move at all.
When I first started working with Windows Server 2003 it was like a breath of fresh air, feature rich, a wealth of administrative tools, adaptable, scalable and much improved reliability over the versions before it. Much like Windows XP to the desktop PC, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 was fantastic and has stood the test of time which is why many people have decided to stick with it. It was Microsoft first really successful server operating system.
The retirement of Windows Server 2003 however does spell trouble ahead for business who have not moved on.
The end of support (EOS) means that Microsoft will no longer be releasing product updates, bug fixes, patches and security updates for businesses still running Windows Server 2003. At the same time many other vendors such as Anti Virus companies, hardware manufacturers and software development companies will phase out or altogether stop writing applications for the operating system.
The reality is that the longer businesses delay moving to a newer server operating system the greater their businesses are exposed to risk but the migration can be a painful process unless correctly planned and managed. The software running on the servers will need to be identified and checked to see if they will run on the newer server operating systems which in many cases means a shift from 32bit to 64bit capability. If they won’t run then they may need to be updated too. Custom or bespoke applications may need to be updated and specialist hardware many also need to be replaced.
For those businesses that are regulated by the Payment Card Industry or need to be PCI Compliant then the chances are that you will fail the required PCI Compliance Audit in very short order.
The arguments for migration to a new server operating system far outweigh the perceived benefits of staying with Windows Server 2003.
If you are still running Windows Server 2003 in your business, you need to take steps now to plan and execute a migration strategy to protect your infrastructure.
By migrating to Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure or Office 365, you can achieve tangible benefits, including improved performance, reduced maintenance requirements, and increased agility and speed of response to the business.