4 reasons to quit hanging onto Windows Server 2003

 In Microsoft, Software

Windows Server 2003’s end of life is less than 90 days away, and July 14 (the last day of support) is quickly approaching. Many organizations, seemingly hesitant to undergo a full migration, still haven’t even begun to plan the move from Win2k3.

C-suite executives and IT professionals are asking the same questions about the status of Windows Server 2003 starting July 15: What will happen to my network? What will work – and what won’t? Is there a quick fix, or a cheap one? If I’m running business-critical applications that require Windows Server 2003, will they continue working? Will Microsoft extend support, and how much will it cost?

We’re going to answer all of these questions in an upcoming Win2k3 webinar for enterprises, education institutions, and government agencies that will illustrate what’s at stake and why every organization should begin their migration immediately if they haven’t already. Suffice it to say, Windows Server 2003’s end of life can pose serious problems for organizations of all sizes, and postponing a migration could be extremely expensive.

Before we delve into these issues in the webinar, here are four reasons why all organizations should be planning a migration, and why it’s time move past Windows Server 2003.


Using Windows Server 2003 will become a business risk: After its end of life, Windows Server 2003 will fall out of compliance with the rules and regulations of many industries. Online retailers, for example, may face payment processing issues if they’re still running Win2k3, as some credit card companies won’t support payments coming from these servers, which will no longer meet PCI standards.

To stay compliant and keep revenue streams flowing, organizations must modernize their data centers and servers. Starting a migration before July 14 will prevent slowdowns or outright noncompliance.

It’s a big job – bigger than many think: A migration from Windows Server 2003 isn’t a weekend job. For many organizations, a migration will take months because of the number of servers they run. Therefore, IT teams must organize a detailed plan for a migration, including licensing considerations, virtualization options, application support, and network security.

A full migration may be difficult for in-house IT departments, requiring application testing and configuration for scores of programs and migrating dozens, or perhaps hundreds of servers, all in addition to day-to-day IT workloads.

Because many organizations still need to migrate, we expect to see a flood of migrations after the end of life date. This migration rush may cause delays for other organizations that also need to migrate, since large migrations will take months to complete and migration partners might be flooded with requests, pushing back your own plan possibly into 2016. Organizations can put themselves on the path toward a smooth migration by developing a plan well before July 14.

Security vulnerabilities won’t be addressed: In 2013, Microsoft issued 37 critical security updates for Windows Server 2003. But after June 14, it will cease providing hot fixes, product updates, and security patches, leaving organizations vulnerable to hacks, malware, and other intrusions.

Win2k3 will still run and operate as it does today, but newly discovered vulnerabilities will go unpatched. Depending on your environment, these security holes could lead to catastrophic problems. Don’t risk the security of your servers. Beginning a migration now can maintain the safety and security of your entire IT ecosystem, and you won’t be faced with unresolved security flaws.

Delaying an upgrade will cost you more in the long run: Microsoft will extend support on each server if organizations want to pay up, but it will cost approximately $700 per server in the first calendar year. That cost will double every year after, so this is not a cost-effective, long-term option.

Ultimately, organizations will have to migrate eventually anyway, so the sooner they make it happen, the less costly it will end up being. Plus, Microsoft has financial incentives available now that can offset the costs tied to migration. These incentives may not be available in the future.

Don’t be a bystander

We’re less than 90 days away from Windows Server 2003’s end of life. Don’t take a wait-and-see approach for your servers – begin planning so your organization has a course of action once support goes offline. Enterprises, education institutions, Texas education institutions, government agencies, and Texas government agencies can join our free webinar to get all the details on what needs to be done and why you should be doing it now. By developing a plan and considering the “what ifs” now, your organization will have a roadmap leading up to July 14, and beyond.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Jim Walsh

    While businesses can breathe a brief moment of fresh air with the knowledge that Microsoft will charge businesses to extend support, by charging per server, I agree that it isn’t a cost-effective (or even business savvy) long-term solution. Companies should only take advantage of it this year to buy some time as the migration process isn’t a quick one, so they have adequate time to plan and execute a successful migration.

    • Jonathan Deily

      Here is a quote from Microsoft for a CSA (Customer Support Agreement) for a customer with 100 instances of Server 2003. This will extend support for one, two, or three years. That is $3000/server for just the first year just for the critical updates. We are currently quoting for migration to a new operating system between $1000 & $2000 per server. Keep in mind this extended support still requires you to migrate off Server 2003 at the end of this process.

      $300k covers the enrollment and critical updates. The important updates are covered by a flat rate of $250k or a per update cost of $50k. If there are 20 important updates at $50k, that’s a cool million dollars just for important updates. OUCH!

      So let’s break it down to per server:
      $3000/Server for enrollment and critical updates
      $2500/Server for important updates
      $5,500/Server for Extended Server 2003 Support for just 1 year of coverage.

      SHI Server 2003 Migration to Server 2012 = ~$1,500/server. That is a savings of $4,000/server. DONE!

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