Windows Server 2003 End of Support – Less than 150 Days Remaining!

February 17, 2015
Quincy Johnson


Quincy Johnson

Digital Marketing Specialist at SoftwareONE | Linkedin

With Windows accounting for 73% of small and large business operating systems as of the end of 2014, several organizations could face a migration path much more difficult than the Windows XP end of support calamity in April 2014. In just 147 days, Microsoft will no longer be offering its extended support which places them at significant security risk and a potential regulatory noncompliance situation.

We’ve written in the past about the implications of operating on non-supported systems as well as steps you can take to migrate to a modern solution. Since the deadline is drawing near, we’ll focus on the key points in order to emphasize the severity of the situation.

Impact of Remaining on Unsupported Systems

Microsoft releases a product with two support lifecycles: Mainstream Support and Extended Support. Mainstream Support provides:

  • Paid incident support
  • Security updates
  • No-charge incident support
  • Non-security hotfix support
  • Design changes/features requests
  • Warranty claims

Extended Support is much more limited by only offering security updates and paid-per incident support. Although the no-cost, non-security related support ended with the conclusion of Mainstream Support on July 2010, organizations were still able to leverage for-fee updates to maintain the health of their servers. But once July 2015 rolls around, with the end of all Microsoft support organizations will lose:

  • Patches/updates
  • Non-security fixes
  • Application support from ISVs
  • Inability to modernize IT to the cloud
  • Regulatory compliance which could affect relationships with partners

The lack of modernization and the loss of regulatory compliance significantly hinders an organization’s ability to remain competitive within their market. Migrating to a modern solution with Microsoft Azure or Windows Server 2012 does more than modernize an organization’s IT, it allows for more cost-effective licensing models by reducing the expenditure on hardware through virtualization and cloud infrastructure.

Microsoft’s Suggested 4 Step Process to Migration

Since the typical migration process takes upwards of 200 days to complete, it is highly recommended that you engage with a partner to help you roadmap this migration process in the remaining 147 days. Microsoft’s 4 step migration process begins with:

Discover and inventory your applications and workloads running on Windows Server by using the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) toolkit. This is merely a basic method for discovering your Microsoft footprint. It is recommended to leverage a more robust service in Software Asset Management to not only define your existing portfolio, but to also help you outline future purchasing best-practices in addition to optimizing your existing portfolio.

Assess and categorize legacy applications that could hinder the migration against the apps that will more efficiently make the transition. Some applications are so thoroughly embedded within outdated workloads that the migration process could suddenly become an entire infrastructure discussion. SoftwareONE technical experts recommend categorizing based on type (in-house apps versus third-party apps versus Microsoft apps), by criticality (business critical, marginal, or can-be-retired), and risk/complexity (the time remaining for the publisher to support an application).

Target and evaluate your options for moving applications/workloads to modern solutions. Again, migrating to a cloud or virtualized infrastructure is the recommended option here as those provide the highest ceiling for future compatibility.

Lastly is to migrate, which requires significant planning to leverage your current capabilities against your envisioned infrastructure. SoftwareONE offers migration planning services to help you roadmap off the ensuing unsupported Windows Server 2003 and onto a modern solution that best suits your unique needs. If you’re looking at your current Windows Server sprawl and need assistance migrating to a modern solution, click the banner below to schedule an appointment with a SoftwareONE representative.

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