Microsoft is ENDING SUPPORT for Windows Server 2003

If you’re currently using Windows Server 2003 I have some bad news for you, you won’t be able to use it for much longer. That’s right, Windows Server 2003 is coming to its end-of-life and Microsoft has officially announced the exact date it will be laid to rest. Windows Server 2003 will end on July 14th 2015 and while a lot of administrators are already well aware of this there are still as many as a million servers across the world that are running live applications on the operating system.

OS Released Nearly 10 Years Ago

One thing that is particularly alarming is the fact that so many businesses still rely on an operating system that was originally released nearly 10 years ago. Even worse is the fact that a lot of the Windows Server 2003 servers are running applications that were originally developed for a 32-bit operating system. Despite the fact that your Windows Server is probably stable at the moment it really isn’t a safe bet to run your applications on a server that will never again be supported as of July 2015.

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In addition to that, almost all hosting service providers will ultimately force their customers to migrate to newer, fully supported platforms in order for them to continue to provide support and security promised in their service level agreement. Once Windows Server 2003 is officially unsupported that will no longer be an option. Unfortunately, most businesses fail to plan ahead in terms of their server migration and upgrade, which results in a last minute race against the clock forced migration, which nobody is a fan of.

In addition to that, almost all hosting service providers will ultimately force their customers to migrate to newer, fully supported platforms in order for them to continue to provide support and security promised in their service level agreement. Once Windows Server 2003 is officially unsupported that will no longer be an option. Unfortunately, most businesses fail to plan ahead in terms of their server migration and upgrade, which results in a last minute race against the clock forced migration, which nobody is a fan of.

So what options do you have?

Well, your first option is to upgrade and migrate. In almost every single instance, this is your best choice. Your plan should definitely include phases for project scope, resource allocation, capability and budget. Obviously there are more specific details involved, but this is a good start. Another option is to upgrade your server. Performing an upgrade to your existing server, if that’s an option, will usually result in functionality errors with your applications, which will cause you to resolve them in a “live” environment. In addition to that, it is likely that the server itself is at least a few years old, which causes even more problems. I’m not going to lie to you, upgrading your server is risky unless you are 100% positive that there won’t be any significant application errors and that your business can withstand possible server outages of 48 hours or more.

Rentacomputer Cares

Your final option is to do absolutely nothing. This option is only viable provided you no longer need server support and are prepared for major vulnerabilities. If you actually rely on your Windows Server 2003 applications then you might want to avoid this scenario unless you are already underway with replacing your applications and servers with a new system, from the ground up. If that is true then all of the potential disasters are outweighed by the benefit of putting all of your resources into the overhaul effort of new applications.

So what have we learned here today?

We learned that the best strategy for server migration is to plan ahead! Plan ahead, be thorough and please, please, PLEASE do not wait until the last minute.

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