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The Simple Truth About Microsoft Windows Server 2003 End-of-Life

Sixty percent science and forty percent art (or in this article 40% marketing). I’ve concluded that most technology solutions are a 60/40 proposition. Solutions are frequently a combination of “must do’s” and “can do it this way or that way based on familiarity, preference, or understanding.”

The upcoming July 14 end-of-support is such a proposition.  Your computer, server, and network will continue to work just as it did July 13.  An IDC white paper released July 2014 offers 5 observations regarding replacing Windows 2003 (the points below are excerpts from the paper) :

  1. “Microsoft faces a scenario where a meaningful portion of its product installed base remains on a product that has been replaced multiple times.”
  2. “Windows Server 2012 R2 offers relatively good application compatibility with Windows Server 2003.”
  3. “Windows Server 2012 R2 offers a lengthy list of improvements compared with Windows Server 2003.”
  4. “Customers that go beyond the termination of extended support place themselves at potential security risks and potentially in a regulatory noncompliance situation.”
  5. “The deployment paradigm has changed, and today’s servers are usually virtualized first.”

These reasons seem to me more about why Microsoft wants migration than why a small or medium business wants migration.  Small and medium businesses I deal with approach technology more pragmatically with questions like:

  1. What will my server quit doing after July 13 that affects my business?
  2. Will my server start crashing or locking up after July 13?
  3. How will my risk/exposure to hackers or other disruptive elements change after July 13?
  4. Will I have to replace my server hardware to upgrade Windows Server 2003?
  5. What is virtualization and what does it have to do with Windows Server 2003 end-of-support?

Plan, yes.  Panic, no.  Small Business reasons are not Microsoft’s reasons.  If things are working for you security is the primary reason to plan a change but even that can be different for different organizations and applications.  One size does not fit all.



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