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Technology Update: The End of Support for Microsoft Windows Server 2003/R2

30 Oct, 2014 By: Kathy Vogler, PERRY proTECH

Technology has come a long way since 2003.  Today’s operations place heavy demands on servers that are now running mobile applications, social collaboration platforms, streaming video and web hosting on top of all of the other business functions required.  The world has changed, too.  Looking back at 2003 reminds us of a $6 movie ticket, $0.37 first class postage stamp, $1.72 gallon of gas, under $5000 annual average cost of a college tuition at a 4 year public school … and then the things that haven’t really change … the invasion of Iraq and the SARS outbreak that spread through 37 countries with 8000 infected and 774 deaths.  And, who could forget the Recording Industry Association of America filing a copyright lawsuit against Internet users for trading songs online, the release of the camera phone, iTunes and the Xbox. 

And unfortunately, a lot has happened in this past decade around cyber security. When Windows Server 2003 was released, it came with a number of advanced security innovations including Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), Encrypting File System (EFS), Stored User Names and Passwords to enable Single Sign-On (SSO) security policies, and other software restriction capabilities that were leading edge.  But, these architectures are no longer enough to provide the security foundations required today. 

The end of support for Windows Server 2003/R2 may have a dramatic impact on your business.  The last WS2003 Service Pack was released over seven years ago.  Standard support was terminated four years ago.  There have been nearly 40 critical updates released this year.

Support officially ends July 14, 2015.

Industry experts estimate there are more than 10 million machines still running WS2003 that are soon to be stranded.  Those businesses that are regulated will face a severe compliance burden.  If you decide to keep running WS2003/R2, you’ll have to pour additional resources into monitoring and protecting your servers and will have to work on separating the data and applications from the operating system so you can flip the server back to the last “good” when inevitable system failure occurs. 

No updates.  No compliance.  No savings.  No safe haven.  And, this vulnerability affects both physical and virtual servers. 

Here’s a great list of 10 steps to consider as you plan your migration from ZDNet Microsoft newsletter:

  1. Take a server inventory – how many WS 2003 systems are you running now
  2. Extract the hardware profile for each system – collect CPU, memory and disk space information
  3. Gather utilization data and create a list of those with utilization numbers under 50%
  4. Decommission systems that are no longer required for business operations
  5. Create a list of services that can be consolidated or moved to newer existing systems
  6. Assess the feasibility of moving under-utilized workloads to virtual machines
  7. Consider  migrating the remaining systems to larger VMs or physical machines
  8. Review and plan attaching Storage Area Networks (SANs) to VMs & physical systems so you don’t have to lose any data in the migration
  9. Validate services on your new systems and wipe and remove the old systems
  10. Take a new server inventory, assess utilization and adjust as necessary

This migration will take some time and requires new hardware, new security models, new management tools, training, licensing, time and personnel.  The clock is ticking but there’s still time to make all of this happen. 

According to the Forrester report “The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2,” WS2012/R2 helps improve virtualization and reduce management costs: 

  • ROI – 270%
  • NPV - $3.9 million
  • Payback – 6 months
  • Server Management Costs – down 35%
  • SANs avoided – 1 to 2 each year

Some of the benefits from the newer technologies provided by WS2012/R2 include reduced license costs, storage savings, cloud integration savings and improved services.  A systems engineer from a US university was quoted as saying “The value is in the increased agility: the ability to have a shorter response time to new requests, being able to have this dynamic elasticity and “just in time” approach.”

Plan now and allow the time and funds required for the migration to a newer platform.  In working with a number of organizations just like yours, we’ve found that advanced planning and skilled project management of WS2003/R2 end of support (often along with desktop Windows XP migrations) will provide increased security, compliance, cost savings and improved network management. 

Kathy Vogler is Marketing Director for leading solutions provider, PERRY proTECH.  Contact her at kvogler@perryprotech.com/  (937) 494.2237 or for company info at http://www.perryprotechcom

About the Author: Kathy Vogler

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