Are you Ready for the Rapidly Approaching Windows 2003 Server End of Life?

It is estimated that there are 12 million physical servers worldwide still running Windows server 2003.

Fiona Mulvaney- Waterford Technologies

Microsoft has announced that the end of life (EOL) for Windows server 2003 is 14th July 2015. After this date you can no longer have support, security, upgrades etc. The loss of this server means that your business and applications could be at serious risk.

What Are the Issues of Migrating from a Windows 2003 Server?

There exists an understandable reluctance to migrate from a currently stable Windows 2003 Server. This might be due to the Windows Server 2003 inevitable challenges that administrators and developers may encounter with incompatibilities, especially between 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.

Although some migration tools can aid the migration of some applications/websites, most services still running on Windows 2003 servers are fairly custom and will present unique, specific challenges during migration/version upgrade.

What Are my Options if I Need to Change from my Windows 2003 Server?

  1. Migrate and Update- In almost all cases this is your best, most logical option. Start with your plan, and start now. Best practice planning for your Windows 2003 server migration should include phases for project scope (technical and project management), resource allocation, capability (i.e. programmers and testers) and budget. There are more granular components as well, but these are a good place to start.
  2.  Stay Put- In this scenario, you no longer require server support, are prepared for major vulnerabilities and are perfectly fine to just “kick the can down the road.” Assuming you actually rely on your Windows 2003 server applications, this option is only viable if you already are underway with replacing all your applications and servers with a new architecture from the ground up. In this case, the risk of unsupported servers/applications, security breach, functional errors, etc. is outweighed by the benefit of focusing all your resources on the overhaul effort to all-new applications, to replace all the services on your current Windows 2003 server.
  3. Upgrade The Server- Performing an upgrade to your existing server, if even an option, in most cases will result in functionality errors with your applications that you’ll need to resolve in a “live” environment. Moreover, it’s likely the server itself is several years old (or more), so you’re solving one problem in a potentially reckless, short-sighted manner while leaving the legacy hardware issue for a later date, compounded by having to diagnose and resolve application failures (at an unknown magnitude of time and expense) in your live environment. This option is extremely high risk, unless you are certain that you won’t encounter any significant application errors upon the server upgrade, and your business can withstand a possible services outage of 48 hours (or more), and economy/budget is way more important to your business than longevity, security and support.

I want to Migrate and Update from my Windows 2003 Server. How do I do it?

  1.  Set up a detailed migration plan to identify the steps in moving to a new operating system.
  2. You’ll then need to identify the steps that need to be taken to implement the migration process.
  3. Make sure you have management buy in, budget and resources to ensure your organisation is prepared.
  4. Plan what you are going to do with your user data and how this data will be managed during the migration process.
  5. Implement Waterford Technologies File Archiver to help make the process smoother and easier.

How do you plan to deal with the End of Life of your Windows 2003 Server?