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On July 14, 2015, Windows Server 2003 will no longer be supported by Microsoft!



Has it really been over a decade since Windows Server 2003 hit the market?
Technology has come a long way in 10 years. Todayís servers run increased workloads for big data, mobile application hosting, social collaboration platforms, streaming video and web hosting. One thing that hasnít changed on the server front, though, is the requirement for 24/7 performance.

But what happens to this performance when Microsoft stops supporting your operating system?
With the end of life support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015 rapidly approaching according to Microsoft's Support Lifecycle information. Microsoft stopped delivering service packs for Windows Server 2003 in 2010, but the operating system has since continued to receive security updates and paid per-incident support. All that ends on July 14, 2015.

The average Windows Server migration taking over 200 days from initial planning, to implementation completion, according to Steve Brennan, the Microsoft Business Development Manager at QA. Now is the time to start planning your migration process to ensure application compatibility, and regulatory compliance.

End of support for Windows Server 2003 means:
Inaction is not a solution. Custom support by Microsoft after the July 14, 2015 deadline is estimated to run at a relatively steep $200,000 per year, a cost too high for many organizations to simply throw money at the problem. It is unlikely that any extension to support of Windows Server 2003 will occur to give overworked IT departments more breathing room in their migration.

No updates: 37 critical updates were released in 2013 for Windows Server 2003 R2 under Extended Support. No updates will be developed or released after end of support.

No compliance: lack of compliance with various standards and regulations can be devastating. This may include various regulatory and industry standards for which compliance can no longer be achieved. Organizations that store sensitive data and are obligated to use supported OS's per local or national laws, such as HIPAA, PCI Compliance in the US must migrate their servers toward a currently-supported OS.

No application support: Many applications will also cease to be supported, once the operating system they are running on is unsupported. This includes all Microsoft applications.

Industry experts estimate that there are more than 10 million machines still running Windows Server 2003 that are soon-to-be stranded. Especially for those in regulated industries, this will cause a heavy compliance burden. To run a secure IT infrastructure, and increasingly to meet the legal and regulatory requirements of many jurisdictions. You will have to pour resources into monitoring and shielding any servers running Windows Server 2003. You will also have to work on separating the data and applications from the operating system so that you can nuke the server, and reinstate it back to a known good state when the system falls to the inevitable.

What changes when you migrate to Windows Server 2012?
With the Architectural changes in 32 bit to 64 bit technology Ė everything changes in Windows Server 2012. A migration of this scale requires a great deal of coordination and careful planning. Any migration, according to Microsoft, should consist of four steps: discovering the existing environment, assessing workloads, determining where those workloads can be moved to, and the actual migration of the workloads.

Companies will want to stay on Windows Server 2003 for many of the same reasons as they did Windows XP. Itís good enough, and they have money and resources invested in it, and the thing works well and has been cheap to maintain and manage. Itís still meeting their business needs, and is running stable with little to no downtime. There are however several key factors to consider when looking at the consequences of not updating to Windows Server 2012, and the impact of transition to Windows Server 2012. All of the Windows Server 2003 systems out there are predominantly 32 bit. Windows Server 2012 is a 64 bit operating system. This also goes for the 32 bit server products that run on Windows Server itself. Exchange Server 2003, which at the time of its release did exist in a 32 bit version, would need to be replaced with a 64 bit version, since no 32 bit editions of Exchange are offered anymore. Youíll still have 5 to 10 year old hardware that can be an additional burden.

KB Printer & Computer Supportís experienced and knowledgeable staff can assist in every phase of your migration process.

The problem with a last minute migration approach is when the server upgrade results in problems, errors or inconsistencies with security, stability or functional issues with your applications that require immediate remediation. Needless to say, waiting until the last minute to perform your Windows Server 2003 server migration is a risky proposition. This all comes down to the simple matter of maintenance. If youíre still running Windows Server 2003, itís highly probable that you havenít been proactive with maintenance, patching, upgrades, etc.

Are you aware of how complicated this is, and the understanding of what you're up against. What are some of the problems that have hit customers who used Windows XP past the end of support that might also be an issue for Windows Server 2003 users? The biggest piece of the puzzle that organizations don't account for is the increase in support costs. A PC is one thing. You can harden a PC by just unplugging it from the network. That's a little bit harder to do with your server. The big lesson learned is all the additional steps, such as adding intrusion detection systems, more advanced firewalls and network segmentation. They're going to have a financial, and performance impact if you're planning to keep that server after support goes away.

Additionally youíll still have 5 to 10 year old hardware that could die at any time. Can you continue to conduct business as usual should your server suffer a hardware failure? How long will your network be down until you can get the hardware replaced, or a suitable replacement server in place, and all your applications and data migrated?

Therefore, a best practice to prepare for your migration is to start with a thorough migration and upgrade plan well in advance of the end-of-life date, for the reasons we have stated here. This is best undertaken with the help of IT Pros that understand your unique circumstances, and have the knowledge of the Server Operating systems, and applications that youíre dealing with.

KB Printer & Computer Support is always just a phone call away to assist with your upgrade, and migrations plans. Our knowledgeable staff can assist with hardware, and application recommendations and acquisition. Work with you in creating a timely and effective mitigation and migration plan, and effectively implement that plan with you.

Computer security flaws are becoming apparent as Microsoftís own dead line of July the 14, 2015 approaches. Windows Server 2003 has been in use for over 8 years now. Microsoft has finally decided to call it a day and end support updates for repairing security flaws and weaknesses that Viruses and Hackers can use to infect your computer.

KB Printer & Computer Support wants to warn you that there are viruses that can record every word you type on your keyboard, including credit card numbers, personal and financial information and forward it to criminals. This will not only impact businesses, but also any user who does any on-line shopping or banking. This is evidenced by some of the large scale security breaches recently by the likes of Target, Michaelís, Kmart, and J.P. Morgan Chase's recent revelation that it had suffered security breaches that took place and affected both consumer, and business customer accounts. Some new viruses released in 2013 can even encrypt or lock every single file on your computer without much hope of ever being able to recover that information or even open it again.

As you migrate your IT infrastructure to Windows Server 2012 you benefit from, reduced cost of ownership through the improvement of management of resources, better security, high scalability, improved performance, Increased functionality, cloud support, improved manageability, on-going product support, and regulatory compliance.

Microsoftís Product Life Cycle for Windows Server 2003:

 

Products Released

Lifecycle Start Date

Mainstream Support End Date

Extended Support End Date

Service Pack Support End Date

Notes

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition

9/6/2006

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

   

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition (32-Bit x86)

3/5/2006

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/14/2009

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition with Service Pack 2

3/13/2007

Review Note

Review Note

 

Support ends 24 months after the next service pack releases or at the end of the product's support lifecycle, whichever comes first. For more information, please see the service pack policy here.

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter x64 Edition

3/5/2006

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/14/2009

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter x64 Edition with Service Pack 2

3/13/2007

Review Note

Review Note

 

Support ends 24 months after the next service pack releases or at the end of the product's support lifecycle, whichever comes first. For more information, please see the service pack policy here.

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition (32-Bit x86)

3/5/2006

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/14/2009

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition

3/5/2006

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/14/2009

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition (32-bit x86)

3/5/2006

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/14/2009

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard x64 Edition

3/5/2006

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/14/2009

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1

3/30/2005

Not Applicable

Not Applicable

4/14/2009

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 for Itanium-based Systems

5/13/2005

Not Applicable

Not Applicable

4/14/2009

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2

3/13/2007

Review Note

Review Note

 

Support ends 24 months after the next service pack releases or at the end of the product's support lifecycle, whichever comes first. For more information, please see the service pack policy here.

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 for Itanium-based Systems

3/13/2007

Review Note

Review Note

 

Support ends 24 months after the next service pack releases or at the end of the product's support lifecycle, whichever comes first. For more information, please see the service pack policy here.

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 x64 Edition

3/13/2007

Review Note

Review Note

 

Support ends 24 months after the next service pack releases or at the end of the product's support lifecycle, whichever comes first. For more information, please see the service pack policy here.

Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)

5/28/2003

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/10/2007

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition for Itanium-Based Systems

6/19/2003

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/10/2007

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition

5/28/2005

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/14/2009

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)

5/28/2003

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/10/2007

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems

6/19/2003

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/10/2007

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition

5/28/2005

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/14/2009

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)

5/28/2003

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/10/2007

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition

5/28/2005

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/14/2009

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition

5/28/2003

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/10/2007

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition (32-Bit x86)

3/5/2006

7/13/2010

7/14/2015

4/14/2009

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition with Service Pack 2

3/13/2007

Review Note

Review Note

 

Support ends 24 months after the next service pack releases or at the end of the product's support lifecycle, whichever comes first. For more information, please see the service pack policy here.

 

Other End of Support information you might be interested in.

End of support refers to the date when Microsoft no longer provides automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance. This is the time to make sure you have the latest available update or service pack installed. Without Microsoft support, you will no longer receive security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal your personal information and trade secrets, and potentially encrypt your data and hold you at ransom.

Client operating systems

Latest update or service pack

End of mainstream support

End of extended support

Client operating system Windows Vista

Latest update or service pack Service Pack 2

End of mainstream support April 10, 2012

End of extended support April 11, 2017

Client operating system Windows 7 *

Latest update or service pack Service Pack 1

End of mainstream support January 13, 2015

End of extended support January 14, 2020

Client operating system Windows 8

Latest update or service pack Windows 8.1

End of mainstream support January 19, 2018

End of extended support January 10, 2023