Windows Server 2003 – What Next?

By Gordon Grosse, Technical Services Manager at The MCSA Group

Windows Server 2003/R2 support finally finishes in July. With an estimated 23.8 million instances of Windows Server 2003 being used last year, this cessation presents a major challenge for organisations of all sizes. For users of this software, there will be an obvious business impact – with no more updates or patches from Microsoft, which can result in a less stable and secure infrastructure. Here are some facts highlighting what end of support means for users and recommendations for new alternatives.

No updates

Microsoft will no longer develop or release any updates after ending support. To put this in perspective—37 critical updates were released in 2013 for Windows Server 2003/R2 under extended support.

Compliance risks

After support ends, your organisation will likely fail to meet most industry-wide compliance standards and regulations. This could result in lost business or dramatically increase the cost of doing business, in the form of high transaction fees and penalties.

Zero savings

The costs of maintaining your legacy servers can add up quickly. Maintenance costs for aging hardware will likely increase, and you will have to deal with added costs for intrusion detection systems, more advanced firewalls, and network segmentation—all simply to isolate 2003 servers.

No safety

Without continued support from Microsoft, your virtualized and physical instances of Windows Server 2003/R2 will not pass a compliance audit. Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 will also be affected.

Action stations

With end of support, you essentially have three options to consider. You can do nothing, which will leave software unsupported without patches and security updates, choose to upgrade your server and then move some components to the cloud, or move completely to the cloud.

For the cloud options, optimistic estimates for migrating a workload off Windows Server 2003 is 150 days, approximately 30 – 60 for the operating systems, and 90 days for the application/workload. However, this process could take longer, and depending on the number of migrations, taking action now is a sound option.
Your migration should ideally follow a process to make the transition from Windows Server 2003/R2 to the cloud as smooth as possible. That process will include discovering, assessing, and targeting workloads and software, before choosing the right migration plan.

To read the recommended steps to achieve this, read the full articlehere