Here’s a safe prediction for 2015: by the end of summer you will have finally said goodbye to that reliable workhorse of your IT infrastructure, Windows Server 2003. In July, Microsoft will stop releasing critical patches and other support for this once-groundbreaking product. In fact, you’ve got much less time than that remaining. If you haven’t yet begun your migration to Windows Server 2012 R2, you need to start planning for it now.
There’s really no rationale for waiting (or, worse, for sticking with the status quo), and all IT professionals understand what’s at stake. After support ends, new security vulnerabilities will place sensitive data at risk of theft, unauthorized access and other attacks – no more patches from Microsoft. How will that impact your business? Let’s examine:
First and foremost, allowing your data protection capabilities to fall out of compliance with regulatory standards (HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI, et al) will bring workflows to a dead stop. That’s because your customers are probably subject to the same requirements – and when you fall out of compliance, so will they. Thus, they’ll have to cease working with you until you can meet those standards.
You might be able to get by for a short while by entering into custom support agreements to keep your systems up and running. But those are sure to be far costlier than the expense of upgrading to a modern platform.
And even if you can keep chugging along with half-measures, why would you want to? All the custom support in the world isn’t going to help your aging infrastructure tap the full advantages of virtualization and cloud computing that your customers (and competitors) may already be using. It won’t reduce the cost and complexity of older systems either. The performance gains alone might very well justify the expense of a platform migration, to say nothing of the reduced total cost of ownership with Intel®-based servers that consume less power and simplify the data center. What’s more, inefficient systems cost more to operate and maintain.
If you do not yet have a migration plan in place, here’s what you need to do, starting right now:
- Evaluate your current situation – Determine what applications and workloads are running on Windows Server 2003. Be sure to make use of the many assessment tools and other resources available to you through Connection, as well as through Microsoft and Intel.
- Determine where your best solution lies – Are you better served with a data center upgrade, a managed cloud solution, or some combination of both? Once again, Connection, Microsoft, and Intel® can help you create a profile of the costs associated with each solution, and then explore migration strategies that work best for you.
- Make your move – Upgrade your hardware and software to the latest Intel® architecture running Windows Server 2012 R2 and immediately enjoy a vastly higher level of performance that will accelerate your business for years to come while reducing IT management costs and restoring data security to meet regulatory requirements.
It’s the end of the line for Windows Server 2003, but it can be the beginning of a whole new, cloud-based computing capability for you in 2015 and beyond.
With the end of support date for Windows Server 2003 fast approaching, there’s never been a better time to plan your data center transformation. Our experts have designed this helpful tool to get you started on the right upgrade path for your unique environment, applications, and workloads.