Windows Server 2003 end of life

On July 14th 2015 Microsoft will officially classify Microsoft Windows Server 2003 as EOL (end of life) and there will be no support available for the product.

Whilst the system is not exactly going to spontaneously combust instantly (ah the memories of the Y2K panics), it does mean that anyone that continues to run Server 2003 will be exposed to many risks. There will be no updates or patches available and so there is an obvious risk of compatibility issues with future software as well as being more exposed to the threat of newer viruses and attacks. On top of these obvious risks Microsoft also warn of performance bottleneck issues – all of this adds up to a logistical nightmare casino online for any business still using Server 2003 and so it is important to migrate onto an alternative as quickly as possible to ensure minimal disruption.

Thankfully – there are plenty of options available now and they come with many advantages over the soon-to-be-redundant 2003 version: administration should be easier, Cloud-based offerings make it easier and more secure for users accessing remotely and there is also the possibility of financial savings as well, as trying to run workloads on 2003 will certainly become more expensive to operate.

Microsoft have developed their own handy migration approach – DATM (it wouldn’t be a technical solution without an acronym). This stands for Discover, Assess, Target and Migrate.

It is recommended that the first step is to discover what workloads and software you have running on Windows Server 2003 and build up some kind of inventory on this. Microsoft have free tools and services online (the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP)) to help you do this and there are many other self-service tools available, such as Dell ChangeBASE, Lakeside Software, SysTrack and JumpStart for Windows Server 2003.

Once you’ve established what you have in your inventory you need to assess it – that means categorising and analysing your applications and workloads based on type, criticality, complexity and risk. Once you’ve done this assessment you can prioritise accordingly, ready for migration.

Choose a migration destination for everything in your inventory – different workloads and applications will logically lead to certain targets but there are many available options, including Windows Server 2012 R2, Office 365, Cloud OS Network and Windows Azure to name but a few. The choice of target will be governed by factors such as cost, speed, ease of migration and functionality.

Having completed the above steps you’re ready to migrate! There are plenty of tools to assist in the migration, including Dell ChangeBASE, Citrix AppDNA, AppZero, BlueStrip and Microsoft Services JumpStart for Windows Server 2003. There are many other services available from many different sources as well so finding one based on your specific requirements should be no issue.

The advised migration path is to move to Windows Server 2012 – this should be a fairly pain-free task and you also get the following features that aren’t available in 2003:

  • Server consolidation
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Flexible, cost-effective storage
  • Easy remote access
  • A consistent user-experience

A server migration can be a daunting prospect but this is a necessary evil as the alternative is simply not an option. As with all technical work, it is always advisable to call in the experts to assist – whilst there are many tools available that are designed to be “DIY” it is always better to use an expert who has experience in this field or experience of the tools to ensure your migration is stress-free and, most importantly, successful.

Obviously you want a migration to have as little impact on your business as possible, so if you’d like to discuss any of the above in more detail, then do get in touch with one of the team today on 0845 270 6850.

You may also like our recent blog ‘Top Tips for Relocating Your Office in 2015”… to read our tips hassle-free office move:

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