Server 2003: It’s Now or Never For Ageing Servers

There cannot be a server administrator in the world who’s not aware of the deadline. Windows Server 2003 will reach end of life in less than three months’ time, so if you’re still using it, consider this a red alert. For your data, and your network security, it’s now or never.

Many businesses are facing the very real possibility that their systems are not going to be migrated before the deadline of 14th July.

Risks of Continued Use

From mid-July, Windows Server 2003 will be considered unsupported software, since Microsoft will essentially cut it from its moorings and leave it without any updates at all.

Fortunate users may simply see performance degradation or incompatibility with different peripherals or hardware. This is likely to worsen over time.

For other users, incompatibility may be the least of their problems. We are certain to see increased hacking attempts on Server 2003 machines, not just because they’re unsupported, but because hackers know these machines are likely to be running on autopilot – long since forgotten.

Businesses that carry compliance responsibilities should be well rid of Windows Server 2003 before the cut-off date arrives. Those that continue to use it could face serious compliance problems, leading to fines, penalties and audits.

Ways Forward

Yes, it’s late in the day, but you can still do something about your Windows Server 2003 machine.

Isolation is one option. You could, in theory, cut that machine off from the wider world. But is non-migration even practical, and is it a long-term solution that is worth spending money on? Windows 2003 support is going to become a legacy product within just a few months, and it doesn’t make sense to throw more money at it when better alternatives exist.

You could organise a custom support agreement for your ageing Windows 2003 servers. However, be prepared for a hefty monthly bill to keep those servers online. This is the only way you can guarantee that your server will be secure going forward, yet it could bankrupt the IT budget in the long term.

The best way forward is an upgrade to a newer server, most likely Windows Server 2012, either on-premise or in the cloud. On-premise migration could be a tall order, particularly given the short deadline, but that depends on the resource you have available for testing and deployment.

A cloud move could be the most sensible way to control operational expenses and keep upfront expenditure to a minimum. And while there are going to be costs and hurdles to plan for, it’s going to be cheaper than ringfencing an ageing server, or retaining the necessary knowledge to maintain it.

Cloud4 Solutions

In need a quick exit from the world of Windows Server 2003? We can help migrate your servers safely, securely and without unnecessary downtime. Whether you need a single hosted server or a complete IaaS package, our support will get your data off Windows Server 2003 as soon as you’re ready to migrate.

Get in touch to find out how our scalable, affordable servers could soothe your Server 2003 headache.

Now is the Time to Move to Cloud Servers

Business MobilityVirtual infrastructure is revolutionising IT. The days of the old, dusty data centre are fast becoming old fashioned, and new software-based alternatives are creeping in. For small and medium sized businesses, virtualisation presents enormous benefits, including a reduction in cost, and fewer support and maintenance tasks for the team. Virtual infrastructure is greener, more flexible and less demanding on your staff.

Virtual servers are the corner stone of any software-based data centre, and if your business is still running old physical servers, the time is right to take the first steps towards the cloud. Not only are servers very cost effective, but there’s a good chance some of your oldest machines are ripe for replacement.

Out with the old

In less than three months, Windows Server 2003 will become an unsupported operating system. For the millions of businesses still using it, that will be a costly blow, and many have tried to put their head in the sand and ride out the last few months. However, once July comes, all bets are off. The longer Windows Server 2003 is left unsupported, the more damage hackers could potentially do.

Many businesses keep their old servers running for fear of upsetting the status quo. Often, servers run highly specialised applications that are business critical, and the business sees that as good enough reason to leave the old server well alone. Face it. You don’t need a Chief Data Officer to realise that a business critical database or key application should not be running on server software that has no manufacturer support. Come July, that’s what many organisations will be doing.

Safe migrations

Thousands of businesses have already completed successful cloud migrations, and a big part of the process is having the right cloud servers in place. Virtualisation lets businesses achieve maximum efficiency because hosted services are elastic; they scale up and down automatically, based on business demand.

Compatibility concerns are understandable, so planning is key. With the End of Life phase so near, businesses should refrain from entering panic mode and migrating too quickly, or without the right strategy in place. Working with a provider like Cloud4, they should start pre-work now in order to get valuable data off Windows Server 2003 and into a secure cloud environment, either before 14th July, or as soon as possible afterwards.

No time to lose

Some businesses are still searching for a good reason to move to virtual servers. The demise of Windows Server 2003 is the best catalyst we can think of. While moving legacy applications is certainly a daunting step, there are very good reasons to quit procrastinating and choose a cloud provider that can help. And running an on-premise/ cloud hybrid solution is better than putting your entire data centre at risk.

While a move to the cloud is a huge endeavour, and not without challenges, leaving data on unsupported servers is not a sensible way forward. End of Life is weeks away now. OK, it’s late to act, but it’s not too late to do something about it.