Upgrade Economics: Windows Server 2003

Delaying Your Upgrade to Windows Server 2012 Only Hurts Your Bottom Line

Justin Zuill

What is the cost of doing nothing? If your business is still using servers running Windows Server 2003, that cost may be substantial – and growing. In the dozen years since Windows Server 2003 debuted, the world has seen huge strides in both the hardware and software that comprise business IT. Processing power has continued to obey Moore’s law by doubling about every 18 months, and there have been two versions of Windows Server to supersede Windows Server 2003. On July 14, 2015, the official end of support (EOS) for this venerable workhorse finally arrives.

Some costs are fairly obvious: Windows Server 2003 EOS means the end of security patches and updates from Microsoft Without them, it will be easier for hackers to find vulnerabilities, enabling them to pry confidential or regulated information from these servers. Inaction itself may violate HIPAA rules requiring that businesses are “guarding against, detecting, and reporting malicious software”, which may no longer be possible for Windows Server 2003 servers.

Other costs are not as obvious. With the increasing adoption of cloud computing services, having the ability to use the cloud to scale IT resources rapidly to support new projects or business growth makes sense. However, Windows Server 2003 servers are not equipped to run the advanced virtualization tools that enable cloud integration, so failure to migrate could mean lost business agility and lost opportunity.

Even if an organization has no immediate cloud plans, the benefits of adopting cloud strategies – such as consolidation and virtualization for on-premises solutions – are clear. Older Windows Server 2003 servers often hosted just a single application or database, whereas today’s offerings such as Cisco UCS enable many older server workloads to be combined on a single physical server using Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V. This greatly reduces the number of servers, software licenses, power and cooling expense, real estate, and overall maintenance costs.On the other hand, taking action can pay back big time, and quickly. According to the Forrester Research report titled “The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2″, businesses can expect to see a whopping 270 percent return on investment (ROI) with a six month payback for their investment in migrating to this new OS. What’s more, the report cited a 35 percent reduction in ongoing server management costs and further savings due to reduced need for expensive SAN gear to integrate with new server features and functionality.

Choosing your new server OS is just part of the picture. Smart hardware choices should further increase an organization’s payback on investment. Cisco UCS features a ‘stateless’ architecture that simplifies provisioning and reusing servers without worrying about MAC address and IP address changes. Cisco also offers Unified Fabric and SingleConnect, which together greatly simplify connection and deploying of server, storage and network elements, all while delivering industry-leading performance for new workloads and old.

To find out how to get started on this new path to keeping data safe and improving overall performance, take the assessment then give us a ring.

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.