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Three Things You Must Know About the End of Support of Windows Server 2003

Three Things you must know about the End of Support of Windows Server 2003

In the wake of the end of support of Windows XP and the almost immediate exploitation with the IE vulnerability, focus has turned to the next big End of Support (EOS) event which is for Windows Server 2003.  To help companies prepare to navigate large migration projects of WS 2003 AppZero and Microsoft teamed up last week in a webinar entitled "How to Solve the Challenge of WS2003."  You can view the slides and recording here (registration required).

The first big takeaway was "now is the time to act." Customer feedback around XP migrations is that it is important to start planning early.  With time running out between now and next summer (the end of support for WS2003) it's important to have a migration plan.  Many of the enterprise projects we at AppZero are seeing have a duration of eight months or more (depending on the number of servers) from the start date of the program.  And, there can be additional months of planning and preparation ahead of the start, especially for those moving more than one thousand servers.

Just how big is the security risk of not moving off WS 2003 and onto a supported platform? In 2013, Microsoft released 37 critical updates for WS 2003.  After end of support, there will be none.  With the one, post EOS fix for Windows XP, there are those who feel the issue has less urgency.  This is not the case.  Microsoft has said there will be no post-EOS patches for WS 2003.

The second big takeaway is that you need to understand all of the important factors in a migration project.  Separate research studies from Microsoft and AppZero showed that:

  • 74% of IT Datacenter Managers (ITDM) are aware of the WS 2003 EOS date¹
  • 57% of Microsoft customers are still running WS 2003²
  • 94% of those running WS 2003 intend to migrate, but only 24% are ready to do so²
  • 40% not sure of upgrade path²
  • 35% intend to move to the cloud as part of their migration²


¹ MSFT Customer Survey 12/2013 (400 NA & Canada ENT & UMM ITDMs)

² AppZero Survey 12/2013 (150 Fortune 1000 IT professionals)

In addition to security risks, there are also business and compliance issues which must be taken into account once WS 2003 reaches end of support.  For example, PCI compliance demands that your ecommerce site runs on a supported platform, meaning that if you need to process credit card information, you will be uncertified and out of compliance and therefore unable to conduct business.

The WS 2003 EOS event is causing enterprises a number of concerns including:

  • Incompatibilities of applications
  • Hardware & software refresh costs
  • Changing a stable environment
  • Security breaches not being covered
  • Compliance audits
  • Disrupting the business

Enterprises that have already begun planning for innovation have reported the following benefits:

  • Cloud adoption (cheaper, faster, better)
  • Maintain peace of mind of running a secure & proven infrastructure
  • New capabilities of the Cloud OS
  • Simplify control & management by consolidating HW
  • Business alignment elevates strategic relevance of IT


Enterprises that are farther along in the process are reporting the benefits of upgrading and modernizing including:

  • Cost Savings - Enterprises are able to reduce their capital expenses through virtualization and Cloud OS.
  • Simplicity - Enterprises are able to simplify their IT management across on premise and Cloud; and make their infrastructure more agile with Windows Server/System Center.
  • Peace of Mind - Enterprises can rely on enterprise-grade security on premises and in the Cloud.

The third takeaway is that you need a well-documented execution plan and process for your migration project.  Many System Integrators with migration practices have their own methodology (as does Microsoft and AppZero), but most have in common, four basic steps:

  1. Discover
  2. Assess
  3. Target
  4. Migrate

During the Discover Phase you undergo an application inventory to determine which applications you are currently running. You then move into the Assessment Phase, where you rank the applications by type, criticality and risk.  This is also a good opportunity to determine which apps can be retired. The third phase is when you determine the Target destination for each of the apps in your inventory that you will move forward.  And finally, you reach the Migrate Phase, which is where AppZero's application modernization tool comes in.  This phase is where you migrate your applications to their assigned destination target.

Although WS 2003 EOS is a large and complex event for IT, it is also an opportunity to create a strategic plan for moving your datacenter forward.  By capitalizing on that opportunity you can automate, simplify and modernize your infrastructure and reduce your operating costs.  AppZero is here to help.  If you would like a demonstration of the latest release of AppZero or have questions about creating a migration plan, please contact us now.  Register here if you'd like to view the recorded webinar and slides.

AppZero will be demonstrating the newest release of the application modernization tool, AppZero V6, this week at Cloud Expo.  If you're planning to visit Cloud Expo, stop by booth #425 and see a demo - you can get a cool t-shirt too.  If you need a free pass to attend the expo, you can get one here:

More Stories By Adine Deford

Adine Deford is the CMO for AppZero – the fastest and most flexible way to move workloads across clouds and datacenter servers, without re-engineering, re-installation, or lock-in. With more than two decades of technology marketing experience, she has a deep understanding of the power of “trigger events” in launching disruptive technologies. She predicts that the end of life for Windows Server 2003 scheduled for July 2015, will be the event that puts application migration, particularly cloud migration on the map. You can follow her on Twitter at @AdineDeford.

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