July, 14, 2015 will be the critical day when Microsoft will end support for Windows Server 2003, thus affecting more than 22 million instances worldwide.
After 12 years, Microsoft decided to end support for this operating system server. In the meantime, most companies have long turned to new, modern and more efficient systems from the same vendor, namely Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2012 R2. The companies that are still running on Windows Server 2003, created over a decade ago, should consider this event and prepare for it.
Basically, the end of support generates exposure to future security risks, extension of incidents solving time, with direct impact on business, inability to run new applications due to potential incompatibilities and difficulties of integration with new or external systems. After July 14, 2015, Microsoft will not fix security holes and bugs in the system, will not ensure compatibility with other components and business applications and will not provide technical support by phone, regardless of the impact on your business. Additional complications will arise when, as a direct consequence of the end of support provided by Microsoft, manufacturers still running applications on this operating system will no longer provide support, resulting in a domino effect with major and varied consequences:
One possible solution available for companies using Windows Server 2003 (including R2) is migrating to Windows Server 2012 R2. However, considering the life span of the old systems, it is an opportune time for an internal analysis of the costs of maintaining these systems versus updating them, consolidation alternatives (fewer servers) or new technologies of automated external hosting. In either case, Technical Directors have only 180 days to make this internal analysis and decide, plan, budget, communicate and implement the change.
“The success of migration from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 depends primarily on the rigor with which the migration is planned and the post-migration immediate support” , thinks Oliviu C. Ghica, Ph.D., IT Infrastructure Services Manager, ACROM.
The migration to Windows Server 2012 R2 is not a process without risk or complexity. The key to success is following some essential steps: inventory of applications and processes running on Windows Server 2003, ranking them in terms of importance and complexity, analysis of consolidation opportunities while reviewing the IT strategy and ultimately define the final location for each application and process, compatibility check on new operating systems, planning immediate support post-migration “critical-care”, setting expectations and appropriate communication with the business, and finally, the actual migration.