Just like the death of Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 will be meeting the same fate very soon. You will start hearing those personnel in the IT departments lament about the dreaded end of life and they have good reasons to do so. Server upgrades are never fun and often result in a bunch of headaches for IT professionals. We have put together a list of four things we think you should know about Windows Server 2003 End of Life so that you can get yourself prepared:

The big dates associated with Windows Server 2003

The first thing you should know is when the End of Life will commence for Windows Server 2003. You can find more about Microsoft’s product support lifecycle information on your own or simply see these dates:

  • Mainstream Support for Windows Server 2003 family ended on July 13, 2010.
  • Extended Support for Windows Server 2003 family will end on July 14, 2015.

Migration is not going to be easy

You might think that there’s undue fuss placed on the End of Life for Windows Server 2003 as everyone should just migrate to a newer version of Windows Server and stop complaining. But you are wrong. Migration is not going to be easy, especially when it comes to custom and third-party applications which have been in place since 2003. IT professionals have also been warned that some code cannot be migrated despite their best efforts and have to be rewritten.

What if you decide not to migrate from Windows Server 2003?

For Windows Server 2003, End of Life will mean that you will be facing issues if you decide not to migrate from it. What we are saying is that:

  • Non compliance: If you continue to operate Windows Server 2003 after July 14, you will be faring badly under the HIPAA, SOX and PCI perspective as this constitute non compliance, since your datacenter will be considered running non-supported platforms.
  • No more updates: Microsoft will no longer provide patches to address bugs. The resulting impact is that hackers and malicious individuals will start to exploit the loopholes in the code and potentially compromise your network.
  • Bigger expenditure on maintenance: It is estimated that Windows Server 2003 systems will cost at least $1500 per server on maintenance each year due to the issues such as third party application support cessation and increased cost from Legacy system maintenance.

This is a good time to rethink your system architecture

For those who are more positive, you can take the Windows Server 2003 End of Life as a good time to shape up your system architecture. For example, you can now try a new combination that includes moving to a virtual Windows Server and another physical Window Server. You can also use cloud services via Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure with the help of an IT support company.

Regardless of what you choose, we advise you to upgrade to the newest version of everything (for instance, Windows Server 2012 R2 should be chosen instead of Windows Server 2008 RS) so that you do not have to face another End of Life headache too soon.

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