Jul 17 2015

Windows Server 2003 Is Past Its Expiration Date

If your business hasn’t updated its server software yet, it’s time to make a change, and fast.

You know the foul, unpleasant smell that starts to manifest itself in your fridge about a week or so after the expiration date on that carton of milk has passed? Here’s a word of advice: Don’t let your business’s expired server software become the IT equivalent of rancid, sour milk in your data center.

The end-of-support bell has been ringing on Windows Server 2003 for some time now. In fact, BizTech covered the story of how several businesses made the migration ahead of the July 14 deadline.

Health Market Science, a Philadelphia-area company that delivers real-time data to healthcare organizations, stayed ahead of the issue when it upgraded to Windows Server 2008 R2 about two years ago, for example. The company’s Systems Administrator Phil Mabee detailed the behind-the-scenes of the upgrade, which he described as going “flawlessly,” in an article with BizTech.

“The entire process took about six weeks, with a month’s worth of planning, testing and migration preparation,” he said.

Modernize Your Data Center Now

Back when Windows Server 2003 was released, the cloud and virtualization were still in their infancy. But in a world where virtualization and cloud technologies are not only widely available but also thriving, companies should consider how these technologies will impact their data center planning as they migrate.

While the end of support for Windows Server 2003 should be a priority, it’s also an opportunity for a larger data center refresh.

“The end of support for Windows Server 2003 offers IT decision-makers a great opportunity to take a fresh look at how they are provisioning all of the applications and services in their portfolios,” said CDW Cloud Client Executive Tracy David in a BizTech article earlier this year. “Based on that evaluation, they can move forward with a strategic data center modernization plan designed to address both their immediate and long-term workload requirements.”

4 Steps to Windows Server 2003 Migration

For small and medium-sized businesses looking to get started with the Windows Server 2003 upgrade process, it’s better late than never. Here are four tips from Microsoft on how to get started with the process.

  1. Determine which applications still run on Windows Server 2003 by using the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit.

  2. Prioritize applications you intend to migrate by their importance and the complexity of migrating them.

  3. Choose a future for those applications, whether it's one of Microsoft's cloud-based solutions or a data center. The company offers free trials of many of its comparable platforms, including Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure and SQL Server 2015.

  4. Build a migration plan, whether it's within your team or outsourced with specialists like CDW.

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