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Massive Windows Server 2003 Services Opportunity Revealed [@AppZero_Inc]

$45 billion market around Window Server 2003 End of Support surfaced

Most people are aware that Windows Server 2003 is coming to the End of Support (EOS) on July 14th 2015.  This means enterprises are more or less forced to stop running applications on the WS2003 Operating System, migrate them to a newer OS or replace them.  EOS dramatically changes the solid "run-your-business operating platform" to one where there will be no security patches, no compliance and escalating costs.  There are few events that open up such large security concerns, throw compliance out the window and have a greater than million dollar price tag all at the same time.

In one of the Microsoft sessions at the recent World Wide Partner Conference (WPC), they revealed that there are 22 million machines still running Windows Server 2003. They estimate that 53% of them are physical, likely running on old hardware providing a big hardware refresh opportunity as well. Geographic estimates break down as follows:

  • 8M NA
  • 7M APAC
  • 5M EMEA
  • 2M Africa & S. America

It is impressive to see Microsoft sharing this information with its partners and evangelizing the huge services opportunity that exists for those partners to help customers migrate to WS 2012 or the Azure Cloud.

HP, a Microsoft and AppZero partner, was evangelizing the opportunity with banners all around the conference, in the hallways and even in the bathrooms.

Over the past year or so as we at AppZero have prepared for WS2003 EOS, we have collected numerous data points on the topic, in the areas of security patches, machine counts and migration costs.

WS2003 was patched 37 times by Microsoft in 2013 or on average more then 3 times a month, but not for much longer.  Starting July 14, 2015 there will be no more patches and security holes will begin to pile up on the unsupported operating system. Many regulations and compliance rules require applications to be running on a supported OS.

We've heard many industry people outside of Microsoft cite the number of affected machines at around 10 million. Last week at the Microsoft WPC Conference, the number seemed to jump from 10 million to 22 million. It is difficult to know the number precisely because the WS 2003 Enterprise Edition allows for creation of 4 instances and the Data Center Edition allows for unlimited creation of instances per physical processor in a machine. This makes counting the number of production instances more complicated than simply counting licenses.  Some people I have talked with think the number might actually be more like 30 million WS2003 production machines.

System Integrators typically charge customers $3,000 to $4,000 per machine for a modernization effort.  If we assume that 15 million machines will be migrated in the next 24 - 36 months, the market sizing calculation would look something like this:

$3,000 per machine x 15 million machines = $45 billion opportunity

Not only is the services opportunity huge, the destination where all these applications land is a big issue.  Companies are making a decade-long strategic and purchasing decision about where to host and run these machines. The following critical or strategic questions typically are raised in the context of a large migration project:

  • Should I move my applications to the cloud?
  • Should I buy new Cisco, Dell or HP machines?
  • Should I change my managed out-sourced environment?

Landing pad environment sizing might be 5 times as large as the $45 billion services opportunity. No matter what the exact numbers are, the opportunity is incredibly large and there is urgency to act today.

"I am always looking for a way to communicate better and cut to the heart of any discussion. So, if you have thoughts on this subject drop me a line at GregO {@} Appzero {dot} com or tweet me at @gregoryjoconnor."

More Stories By Greg O'Connor

Greg O'Connor is President & CEO of AppZero. Pioneering the Virtual Application Appliance approach to simplifying application-lifecycle management, he is responsible for translating Appzero's vision into strategic business objectives and financial results.

O'Connor has over 25 years of management and technical experience in the computer industry. He was founder and president of Sonic Software, acquired in 2005 by Progress Software (PRGS). There he grew the company from concept to over $40 million in revenue.

At Sonic, he evangelized and created the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) product category, which is generally accepted today as the foundation for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Follow him on Twitter @gregoryjoconnor.