Server 2003 EOL

As discussed in our December Blog, Microsoft Server 2003 will go “End of Life” (EOL) on the 14th July, when extended support for the operating system comes to an end. Migrating to a new platform may be a daunting proposition, however by failing to act, organisations are exposing themselves to vulnerabilities and are likely to be non-compliant to many business standards.

But what does “End of Life” or “End of Support” really mean to you? It’s likely that either the fear of moving or the dependency on legacy software is the reason that you are still running Server 2003. The problems with staying on Server 2003 are mainly security issues caused because Microsoft will stop producing fixes for holes that are identified in the software. Despite the Operating System having been around for 12 years, issues are still found which hackers look to exploit. Because of this the software will no longer be considered compliant by a number of organisations such as the Payment Card Industry. In addition to the software issues, there is also a strong likelihood that the hardware running Server 2003 is nearing the end of its usable life and the risk of physical failures will be increasing weekly. There are many benefits to be gained by moving to the latest server Operating System from Microsoft, Server 2012, as the system has been optimized to work on modern hardware and therefore performance is almost certainly going to be significantly improved. Some of the many benefits include:

– Integrated support for virtualisation, which allows you to run multiple workloads on one physical server

– Better security – Memory management is improved to give much better performance of applications

– Group Policy is significantly expanded and improved and with it the ability to manage systems and users via GPOs is increased

– You can specify default mapped drives for the entire organization or groups

– There is advanced power settings allowing you to manage the power used by the server

IDC produced a White Paper in July 2014 which concluded that while many customers may feel like they are being forced to update Windows Server 2003, the reality is that Microsoft’s support policies for software products are relatively generous, and they has released two successive products over the past six years. The Windows Server 2003 product is now in its 12th year of use and has long been a reliable part of many organizations’ infrastructure, which is the very reason why it is still in use. IDC believe that customers should see it as an opportunity to not only move forward to a newer version of Windows but also modernise and prepare for the next generation of computing where hybrid and public clouds are important components.

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As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Zenzero have a wealth of experience of moving customers from Server 2003 and 2008 to Server 2012. The importance of taking time to understand the dependency of older applications to the business and their compatibility to run in the new environment is never underestimated. To support this process Zenzero follow the recommended steps of;

Discover – Determine which applications and workloads are running on Windows Server 2003 today

Assess – Categorize applications and workloads by type, importance, and degree of complexity

Target – Choose a migration destination for each application and workload, either in the datacenter or in the cloud

Migrate – Build your migration plan

Time is ticking, so make sure that you speak to Zenzero for a no obligation assessment of your current situation and recommendation about the safest most efficient way to move your server operating system to the latest software. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/windows-server-2003/default.aspx#CaseStudy1