Windows Server 2003 End of Life Date

On July 14th 2015 Microsoft will end extended support for Windows Server 2003/R2.

What does end of support mean?

Once extended support for Windows Server 2003 ends, new security issues won’t be fixed by Microsoft, which may result in a less secure and less stable infrastructure if you continue to run it. 37 new updates were released in 2013 for Windows Server 2003/R2. In a matter of months those updates will fall to zero.

The reality of running Windows Server 2003 beyond July 2015.

We understand there may be reasons for not making the move, but if you continue to run the server and it fails beyond the end of support date the only likely course of action will be to upgrade, as it will be difficult to find software and replacement hardware that will be compatible. It’s highly advisable you start planning a replacement now, even if you decide not to upgrade immediately. It may help you to avoid extended downtime in the future.

Over time the cost of of choosing to stay on an unsupported server will begin to exceed the actual migration costs. Here are some of the issues you may run into:

  • Maintenance costs will increase as you are effectively maintaining aging hardware past it’s acceptable usage date.
  • Without critical updates you will be open to cyber security dangers such as malicious attacks or data loss.
  • To protect your organisation against these threats advanced firewalls and added security will have to be deployed – another added cost of maintaining a stable environment.
  • Compatibility with software and hardware will become an issue as new versions will not be built to integrate with Windows Server 2003.
  • Once support ends your organisation may fail to meet industry wide compliance standards.
  • If the server fails and you don’t have a backup plan you risk serious downtime, which could bring your operation to a grinding halt until a replacement is put in place. Unfortunately, such an occurrence is unlikely to be a quick fix.

The benefits of upgrading.

The single biggest reason to upgrade – who wouldn’t want the peace of mind that their organisation is running on a secure and proven infrastructure that is fully supported and patched?

Upgrading your environment can bring long term savings, with faster, better, more capable systems.

  • Cost Savings – Reduce operational expense and maximise investment through consolidation, virtualisation and cloud infrastructure. Consolidation will also help to reduce support costs.
  • Simplicity – Simplify IT management across on-premises and cloud and make your infrastructure more agile.
  • Peace of mind – Ensure business continuity with high grade security on-premises and in the cloud. Closer alignment of IT with the business elevates the strategic relevance of IT.
  • Power Conservation – Modern servers consume much less power resulting in lower electricity costs (and a greener environment).
  • Increased resiliency and performance – Predictable, more efficient performance. Improved system availability and much faster query performance. Increased productivity.
  • Increased business agility – Improved ability to scale to accommodate business growth due to a more efficient infrastructure. Great automation frees up IT staff to focus on more strategic business tasks.

Start planning now.

With all that said, migration of Windows Server to a new cloud or fixed server solution requires a great deal of planning and coordination. Even if your Windows 2003 server is stable at this time, we urge you to start planning now for the upgrade. If there is any serious bug or problem in Windows it simply will not be fixed by Microsoft, and if it’s exploited you can expect downtime.

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