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Time Is Running Out On Windows 2003 Server

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Feb 4, 2015 @ 07:02 AM

Like Windows XP last year, Microsoft has announced the impending end for Windows Server 2003 with support stopping July 14 2015.  What this means is that Microsoft will no longer issue security and bug updates for this server platform effective this coming July.  Windows_2003_Server_Toolkit_Notice

This is an important step for any company which is currently running a Windows 2003 Server as it will increase the potential for there to be security problems and also for any issues which arise becoming more serious than before.  Windows Server 2003 is an old but still well used throughout the world.  Data from spring 2014 indicated that as many as eleven million Windows Server 2003 installations are still in existence.  If you are one or more of those then doing some planning now so that you can migrate to a newer platform in an orderly manner is well worth the time.

Continuing to operate important IT infrastructure on an outdated server platform is ill advised for many reasons but once the security support for the system is ended then the risks increase substantially.

Toolkit available

To assist businesses to look at their installations and to begin the process of upgrading Microsoft offers several tools which can ease the analysis.  Get assistance in looking at what an upgrade might look like to begin your homework.  By working through the material provided you can get a better understanding of what is needed and why you should act now to avoid issues later.


Microsoft will promote to you the benefits of moving to a cloud platform using one of their several cloud options as opposed to doing an upgrade to a newer server platform on your own hardware.  This fits with Microsoft's strategy to become a services company as opposed to a software designed and vendor.  There are other options to consider and still stay on the Microsoft Server platform without going cloud.  Take the time to look at both before taking the pitch for cloud as the only choice.  It may work for you and it may be the right choice but you need to consider many things in a cloud installation and deciding just to move from the obsolete 2003 platform is only one consideration.

Current versions

Effective December 31 2014 Microsoft declared end of life for the 2008 series of server products.  This means that Microsoft will no longer sell through these products to end users althought resellers may have copies available that they can still sell.  End of life does not mean that Microsoft with end security and bug updates for the 2008 series however so continuing their use is ok at this time.

The currently available server versions from MS centre around the 2012 server series both in installed and cloud based installations.  SQL Server 2011 is the current level of database server.  Servers are the heart of an IT network so understanding which is best for you is an important issue.

Deciding what server software you might migrate to, will be dictated by the software you need to run on the server.  Line of business software is critical to most companies and ensuring that your vendor's package will operate effectively with the new server package you choose is one of the first steps to undertake in any migration plan.  This becomes even more critical if you are looking at cloud server delivery or running with virtual servers.

What ever you decide to do, once you start considering your move from 2003 getting advice from your IT support supplier is an important step unless you have undertaken server migrations before.  The mechanics, hardware configuration and planning are not things which you want to experiment with.

Take a look at what you are running on any Windows 2003 servers and start the process now.  Don't wait for 'spring" as the timeline for replacement is now and you will find that delay in starting the process only creates aggravation and challenge in the end.

Are you still running Windows Server 2003?  Time to act.

Lee K

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Topics: server software, IT network, IT support