More than 10 years ago, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 technology hit the market to meet the needs of businesses. After so many years of service, Microsoft will no longer offer support for Windows Server 2003/R2 beginning July 14, 2015.
What does the end of support for Windows Server 2003 mean?
It means that Microsoft will no longer offer security updates, corrections or online support for Windows Server 2003 after that date. Without these updates, your servers will be exposed to increasingly frequent attacks, particularly if the servers are connected to the Internet. In order to prevent future interruptions in activities, we strongly recommend that businesses migrate to a current operating system.
If you want to keep your servers on premises, you can replace Windows Server 2003 with more recent versions of products, such as Windows Server 2012 R2, or discover new tools such as cloud computing. Cloud computing is both flexible and open. This new technology can be deployed quickly and will allow you to manage applications over the entire network.
What are the consequences of continuing to use Windows Server 2003?
Using Windows Server 2003 after July 14, 2015 could expose your company to risks such as:
In 2013, Microsoft published 37 critical updates for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2. As such, after July 14, 2015, even if a flaw is discovered, and hackers certainly will do so, it will not be patched.
Servers that no longer meet industry standards and regulations can result in serious problems. Certain companies, such as stock exchanges, are governed by strict rules and violating them can result in stiff penalties or suspended activities.
Software and hardware compatibility problems
Going forward, it is likely that new software, and software drivers will not be backwards compatible with Windows Server 2003. This means that hardware replacement in the future (servers, printers, etc..) will no longer be compatible with Server 2003.
No safe haven
Virtual copies of Windows Server 2003 are also vulnerable. All applications running on this version will no longer meet compliance criteria. If your business is currently running the most recent SQL Server on Windows Server 2003/R2 it will not longer be supported.
If you decide to keep your current installation of Windows Server 2003, you need to know that there will be no savings in doing so. You will need to spend more for intrusion detection systems, sophisticated firewalls, network segmenting and security systems. What’s more, your internal or external IT support will also be more expensive to support older technology.
Why should you upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2 and cloud computing?
Reduce costs and make the most of your IT investment
By running more applications on the same server, you can save on hardware and electricity costs thanks to the integrated Hyper-V virtualization in Windows Server 2012 R2. You could further reduce your capital expenditures by calling on cloud infrastructure services instead of buying new hardware
Rest assured that you can carry on with your activities, even if a disaster occurs
Close to 40% of companies close their doors for good after being affected by a disaster. Don’t be part of these statistics and be sure that you’ve saved your data effectively so that you can quickly recover them thanks to Windows Server 2012 R2 and the data centre automated saving solution.
Get a fast and profitable data storage solution
Windows Server 2012 R2 allows you to combine your storage infrastructure. You can then make the best possible use of it and reduce storage costs when it becomes more demanding. SAN-type storage solutions, available in the «storage space» function of Windows Server 2012 R2, are reliable and adaptable at a lower cost.
What do I need to know about the migration process?
Millenium Micro affiliated members are trained to provide solutions that you need to simplify your update. If you plan to migrate your applications, it is important for you to understand all the steps necessary.
Document your work by cataloguing all the software and roles that operate on your Windows Server 2003/R2 servers.
Rank applications and workloads and establish priorities based on their type, degree of importance, complexity and risk.
Identify a destination for each application and role based on their speed, importance, ease of migration, cost and expected functionality.
You are now ready to take action.
With all the changes that the IT market is experiencing, this is the perfect opportunity to establish the groundwork of your company’s IT system for the next decade or more. Engage a Millenium Micro member to help you develop a strategy that allows you to adopt technologies such as cloud computing and provide you with a clear roadmap for your IT infrastructure.
If you still have Windows Server 2003 servers in your environment, this may mean that you have not put in place a migration plan for your IT hardware on a regular basis. Such a plan offers numerous benefits: Planned, timely migration, scheduled budget, reduced IT outages, better performance, new functions, simplified migration, etc. A migration plan must be adapted to each company, as it depends on the market, budget and risk tolerance. In general, you should change workstations and servers every three years.
This is a potential investment in the future of your company. Updating your servers and operating systems can reduce your costs and allow you to take advantage of the substantial benefits that will offset the cost of the update and the risks you run by not migrating.
If you still have Windows Server 2003 servers and do not yet have a migration plan for them, call one of our Millenium Micro affiliated members right away to set up a plan.
For more information and certain resources, we have made a reference page available for SMEs on this topic at www.milleniummicro.ca/w2k3