Its time for an upgrade!

153 days – If you are on Windows Server 2003, that’s the exact no. of days you have left to upgrade. As we all know Microsoft announced End of Support for Windows Server 2003 sometime in 2013. So after July 14th, 2015 Microsoft will no longer provide support of any kind on any version of Windows Server 2003 (WS2003). If you’re wondering what this means, it comes down to this – Microsoft will not provide any technical support nor will there be any patches or security updates available for WS2003 (mind you Microsoft released 37 updates for Windows Server 2003 in 2013 alone), putting your applications and business at risk. New threats won’t be addressed and your systems will become a security risk and compliance nightmare. So the bottom line is that if you are still running WS2003 in your datacentre, it is advised to plan and execute an upgradation or migration strategy to protect your infrastructure.

One cannot emphasis enough on the importance of upgrading your infrastructure.  And to highlight the same, key threats of remaining on WS2003 are listed below

  1. Security Issues

WS2003 retiring does not imply that the OS will stop suddenly. They will continue operating however, Microsoft will not be providing any security measures to protect it. Moreover, the new vulnerabilities cropping up would have to be addressed by the organization itself. Some argue that hiding these servers deep behind multiple firewalls is sufficient. However, we all understand the financial pressure it will add on the company.

  1. Increased Costs

Unlike for PC’s, organizations need to account for support costs for Servers. And if they plan to stay on WS2003 organizations are going to have to take extra steps to support it. So there comes in the intrusion detection systems, more advanced firewalls and network segmentation. However, all this comes at additional cost. Gartner estimated that organizations that plan to continue to run ( WS2003) past the deadline should budget for $1,500 per year per server. Additionally, as the workloads increase, the vulnerability increases as well which increases the organizations maintainance costs.

  1. Compliance/ Legal issues

Post mid-July, running WS2003 would technically mean you’re using an out-dated software, which would require you to conduct an independent audit program at regular intervals. Failing the meet a compliance audit may cripple your organization severely.

WS2003 retiral brings about a number of opportunities for businesses to transform their business infrastructure. Some of the options are:

  1. Upgrade to Windows 2012/R2

Opportunities abound as you look at deploying the newest operating system from Microsoft. Every aspect of the operating system has undergone significant engineering improvement. After all, you can take advantage of 12-plus years of product engineering development.

All of the newer operating systems are 64 bit, so they run faster and provide significantly better performance than they did in 2003. Significant improvements have been made to the networking stack, resulting in better performance and in reduced downtime, often eliminating downtime potentials.

Windows Server 2012 R2 can provide:

  • A modern virtualization platform at much lower costs than the competition
  • Low cost, high performance storage
  • Advanced disaster recovery and data protection
  • Advances in management tools, access security and protection of information
  1. Migrate to the Cloud:

The greatest opportunity lies in the cloud-aware, hybrid nature of today’s server operating systems. Windows Server 2012 R2 can help you bridge between your on-premises data center and the cloud. You can start to take advantage of the agility, scalability and cost efficiencies of using cloud for your organization. It is not just about getting rid of Windows Server 2003, but, more importantly, it is about taking advantage of this opportunity and moving the data center forward into the 21stcentury. David Mayer, in charge of the Microsoft consulting services business, points out to the fact that the retiring of Server 2003 is an opportunity to move to a more modern OS or to an IaaS scenario, such as Azure. He adds, “Windows Server 2003 was really stable,” he said. “But as we move to the cloud world, there are a lot of scenarios that weren’t prevalent back then. The big one is that Windows Server 2012 is cloud-ready. The ability to do private, public and hybrid scenarios is huge.”

  1. Migrate to a new system

Organizations often assume that their options to upgrade are limited to Microsoft products, WS2003 being one of Microsoft’s debut products. However, that’s not the case. Wish they change their platform it is very much possible.

Conclusion

So perhaps your organization is governed and needs to stay in compliance. Perhaps your organization can take advantage of the capabilities of a modern operating system, and stay ahead of your competition. Whether it’s risk or reward, Windows Server 2003 end of life is an opportunity, one that you do not want to miss. And we, at Embee have helped customers across verticals and dimensions upgrade or migrate depending on their infrastructure, long term business objectives and customer preferences. To know the most favourable option for your business, Embee would be keen to assess and consult you and help implement the same.  So make the move, as its time to upgrade, nonetheless.

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