The Windows Server 2003 family of products will be coming to its End of Support (EOS) on July 14, 2015.
What does this mean to you and your organisation?
With the imminent End of Support for Windows Server 2003 (WS 2003) it is key that all business fully understand the implications if they continue to operate within a WS 2003 environment. The fact is that despite advanced warning and continued information campaigns from both Microsoft and IT providers over 23 million servers in the world are still running this technology; as of the 14th of July this means:-

  • NO SUPPORT: – When issues are inevitably encountered with compatibility and interoperability there will be no Microsoft Support lifeline to call on (e.g. Microsoft Premier Support will no longer cover the Windows Server 2003 Family of Products).
  • NO UPDATES: – Security updates will no longer be provided, exposing your Windows Server 2003 installation to security threats. In 12 months alone there were 37 Critical Updates released for Server 2003. Imagine, if you can, what impact zero updates and bug fixes will have on the security and productivity of your infrastructure.
  • NO COMPLIANCE: – After support ends, continued use of Windows Server 2003 means your business will probably fail to meet industry-wide compliance standards and regulations, putting your existing accreditations in jeopardy. IT departments in the health care, financial and legal fields will be particularly affected and should be especially concerned i.e. Payment Card Industry (PCI) policies will not be met with an operating system that is End of Support; you should consult your legal, security and audit teams to ensure you understand your compliance landscape.
  • INCREASED COST: – Without the support from Microsoft, isolating and protecting your 2003 servers will end up costing you more and eating into your IT budget reducing your ability to drive the productivity and profitability of your business forward.

Mainstream support for WS 2003 ended in July 2010 and as such organisations should have already started if not finished any migration of applications to a more current version of Windows Server; however many are still happy to remain on WS 2003 despite the lack of security and maintenance support; not a great business decision. WS 2003 has now been around for 12 years and customers have benefited from the constant updates and patches; I know that businesses are reluctant to have to pay for a new server operating system however all software needs to be upgraded at some time and 12 years of support is generous!
Now is the time for businesses to either make the move to a new version of Windows Server on-premises or perhaps move applications to the Cloud or even a hybrid of Cloud and on premise services. WS 2003 instances will, of course, continue to run after end of support (EOS). However as highlighted above running unsupported software carries significant security risks and may result in costly compliance violations. As you evaluate security risks, keep in mind that even a single unpatched server can be a point of vulnerability for your entire infrastructure.
We understand that this EOS brings complexities, but it also brings wonderful opportunities to transform the way your IT Services operate and are supported. New advancements since WS 2003 included in Windows Server 2012 R2 allows your IT department to upgrade and take advantage of so many advancements, not only with the Operating System, but in the way they can support your business. Don’t think of this as a mere lift and shift, but a truly amazing time to reconsider the way you position your business for the future.
If you are still operating your key business applications on Windows Server 2003 you need to take immediate steps to plan and execute a migration strategy to protect your infrastructure. Upgrading from Server 2003, on paper, is often described as a deceptively simple three-step process that includes hardware discovery, assessing your software and network needs, and full-on migration. Sounds easy enough; but without the correct skills most small and medium sized businesses may find it difficult to plan and execute a successful migration strategy as well as carrying out their day to day tasks and higher level strategic planning.
Simple Solution: –
The DSM Group are here to support your transformation from a Windows 2003 environment. Our highly qualified and experienced Professional Services team will engage with you and/or your business IT function; we will look to examine your existing infrastructure, consider your business’ future needs and mitigate any risks to ensure a successful transition from Windows Server 2003. The team at DSM are multi-skilled and uniquely placed to drive your business to an IT environment that will enable growth, flexibility, mobility of data, added security and compliance.
“If you need further information on the implications of not migrating from Windows Server 2003 or would like to discuss how we could help your business migrate from Windows Server 2003 to a solution which meets your current and future organisational needs please just email or call to arrange to speak with one of our consultants or to arrange an informal meeting”
John Morton; The DSM Group.