How to prepare for the end of Windows Server 2003

 In Microsoft, Software, Volume Licensing

After a long and productive life, Windows Server 2003 will soon be retired. Effective July 14, 2015, Microsoft will no longer provide hot fixes, security patches, and updates for Win2k3 and its millions of users.

If we learned anything from Microsoft’s discontinued support for Windows XP in 2014, it’s that organizations should be preparing now. A Windows Server 2003 migration will require your organization to coordinate technical, strategic, and business decisions affecting the backbone of your network software, and failure to migrate before the deadline could threaten your network security and regulatory compliance.

To help you get started — or to add to your already-growing checklist — here are six areas organizations will need to investigate before migrating off of Windows Server 2003:

Win2k3

    1. Microsoft volume licensing and IT asset management (ITAM). Does your current Microsoft volume licensing agreement allow you to upgrade all applicable Windows 2003 servers to a later version? Are the quantities and timeframes of existing contracts and previous purchases enough, or will an additional investment or True-Up be required?
    2. Virtualization, the cloud, and data center modernization. Is now the right time to investigate additional virtualization and cloud options? Would the cloud be on-premises, off-premises, or a hybrid? If on-prem, will your current data center hardware support this migration to new software?
    3. Application migration. Will the apps and software currently running on Windows Server 2003 run on a later version or in the cloud? What proprietary software, if any, will you need to test?
    4. Networking and security. How will this affect your current networking and security posture?
    5. Migration resources and support. Does your IT staff have both the ability and capacity to manage this migration, or will you need additional tools and/or personnel?
    6. Financing. Do you have the budget for any additional licenses or resources (either people or equipment) this migration may require? Is financing the right way to go?

A smooth server migration will take time and manpower to plan and execute. Luckily, you’re not alone. This is the first in a series of blog posts, webinars, and SHI-sponsored events we will use to help you figure out how to approach the migration and find the best solutions for your business. Over time, we’ll continue to provide solutions that address the topics listed above. Subscribe to the SHI Blog to automatically receive an alert when we post new content, and check back often to learn more about how to continue your preparation for July 14, 2015.

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