On July 14, 2015, Microsoft will no longer support Windows Server 2003 users. Released in April 2003, Windows Server 2003 still provides the infrastructure for operations in many businesses. An estimated 8 million instances of the operating system are currently in use, despite the release of a new server version in February 2008. However, with Windows Server 2003 end of life on the horizon, many businesses face the possibility of having to migrate their applications to another platform.

“End of Life” Not the End of the World

After July 14th, Microsoft won’t release any more updates or provide any support for the system. However, Window Server 2012 will be available to users who wish to upgrade and migrate their current infrastructure.

Although Windows Server 2003 end of support may sound daunting, it’s not the end of the world for businesses that still use the operating system. However, you’ll want carefully assess how and if this announcement will affect your current infrastructure.

What Happens When Support Ends?

Businesses have several things to consider as Windows Server 2003 end of life approaches:

  • The end of official security updates and patches may leave servers open to unforeseen vulnerabilities.
  • Application support is also likely to end.
  • Compatibility issues may arise with new applications, especially in cloud-based systems.
  • Security measures such as intrusion detection and firewalls will need to be managed in-house or through a 3rd party provider, like UDT.

Companies with strong internal security and experienced IT teams may not need to worry about making any changes. Windows Server 2003 machines will continue to support daily business operations, without Microsoft’s help.

Is Migration Worth It?

The choice of whether or not to migrate from Windows Server 2003 depends largely on how many applications and what types of data are currently being stored. Businesses in regulated industries may have no choice but to upgrade in order to stay compliant. Other companies that store sensitive customer and corporate information on their servers may also wish to make the switch to enjoy better security.

Migration Options

If migration is necessary, businesses can choose one of several destinations for their applications and data:

  • Windows Server 2012, which runs on 64-bit technology and offers many performance upgrades.
  • A private cloud environment that’s set up and managed by your business.
  • Public cloud services with software, hardware and support provided by a third party.

Preparing for Windows Server 2003 End of Life

Getting ready to move a whole system of applications that have been in place for years requires planning and dedication. Before switching to new servers, businesses have to assess what applications are currently in place, as well as which one should be kept and which ones should be removed. Tools such as Microsoft’s Migration Planning Assistant make preparation easier by laying out the necessary steps and offering tips on how to approach each phase of the process. However, an evaluation of the scope of the migration, the cost and the downtime involved, are also essential.

Need Help?

UDT can help you assess how and if this announcement will impact your business. If it’s determined that your IT environment is at risk, UDT can help you through the migration process and provide another layer of protection and security through our IT managed services.  Contact us today to schedule your FREE consultation.