Prepare for Windows Server 2003’s End of Support
Microsoft officially ends support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015.
Windows Server 2003 is quickly reaching the end of its life and a mass migration is set to occur in the business world still running this aged Server operating system (OS). Microsoft estimates there are about 23.8 million instances of Windows Server 2003 running today across 11.9 million physical servers worldwide, counting for about 39% of the entire Windows install base. That’s a lot of migration that needs to happen between now and July 14, 2015, when Microsoft will stop providing support for the old OS.
Now is the time to plan your migration to the newer Windows Server 2012 R2, and Microsoft Office 365 or Office 2013.
What End of Support means
From 14th July 2015, Microsoft will no longer offer security updates, support or technical content updates for Windows Server 2003. This means;
- Hot fixes and Security patches will no longer be available, leaving servers and applications vulnerable to security threats and downtime – 37 critical updates were released for Windows Server 2013 in 2013 alone.
- Windows Server 2003 and the workloads and applications running on it will become more expensive to operate for example; more frequent software repairs.
- Outdated software will create compliance risks
Not upgrading is not really an option – there is just too much risk, even more-so than the end of life of Windows XP. As Microsoft support ends these servers will start to become a potential security risk. Even if the server itself does not house important data, it is still a risk since a 2003 server creates an ongoing potential entry point for intrusion into the server and network. Whats more, servers just cannot be turned off and unplugged.
Moving to Windows Server 2012 R2 and upgrading both your server hardware and software is the primary option to those still running 2003 versions of Windows Server. Other paths to consider is moving to the cloud, or hybrid cloud. However going to the cloud has its own set of considerations such as cost and restrictions, and needs to be investigated thoroughly.
If your organisation utilises the Microsoft’s Exchange mail system that came with Server 2003 and you upgrade your Microsoft Office software on your workstations to 2013, be very aware that an Outlook 2013 using the Exchange connector will not work! Be very careful in upgrading your workstations to Outlook 2013, via a Microsoft Office Home & Business 2013 package for example, will render you unable to reconnect to the Exchange server running on your Windows Server 2003.
If you really still need to run Windows Server 2003, you should at least ensure that the servers are running healthy and at peak efficiency. As the company business software has been upgraded and improved over the years, so to has its demands on the underlying operating system.
Gooroo Technical Services support staff are happy to help with questions that you may have around checking out your existing network and server infrastructure or discussing migration to the newer Windows Server 2012 or the possiblility of going cloud based architectures.
This article wants to point your attention to the fact, that even in times when everybody is running 64 bit based systems, you still have to watch your 32 bit systems carefully for performance and risk. Another (better) way to solve those kind of issues is to migrate to a modern 64 bit operating system like Windows Server 2012 for the long term vision.