September 24, 2014

Businesses unprepared for Windows Server 2003 end of life

TORONTO--Most organizations are not prepared for Microsoft's looming  end of support  for Windows Server 2003 according to  TechCheck™ assessment analysis by  Softchoice, a leading North American technology solutions and managed services provider.

Softchoice's analysis of 126,000 clients' servers reveals that nearly one-third (32 per cent) are still running Windows Server 2003 – only a 10 per cent decrease from the same period in 2013 – and 97 per cent of businesses still have some presence of the outdated operating system, which will create a serious business risk if they fail to upgrade in time.

"It seems that companies haven't learned their lesson from the eleventh hour chaos caused by Windows XP going end-of-life earlier this year," said  David Brisbois, Softchoice's senior manager of assessment and technology deployment services consulting. "This time around, unprepared businesses may find themselves stuck with vulnerable systems powering mission critical processes throughout their organization."

While the Windows Server 2003 end-of-life isn't until  July 2015, most organizations are already running behind schedule. The migration to a new server OS is far more complex than XP, and far more mission critical to the business. Brisbois recommended all organizations still running Windows Server 2003 take immediate action to replace or upgrade their systems now, starting with:


Discovery : Take account of how much Windows Server 2003 is in your IT environment, what hardware it's running on, how old it is, and how much of it is virtualized.


Understanding : Determine what processes are running on the each of the servers and what dependences they have.


Planning : Once you have a full view of the environment, evaluate your options, and roadmap your migration or upgrade plan. Are you simplify going to upgrade the hardware and software, are you going to move workloads to the cloud, will you implement a hybrid IT solution?


Begin  your migration from Windows Server 2003 and test, test, test as you go to ensure systems are running and to guarantee uptime of mission critical programs.

"With less than a year to go until Microsoft pulls the Server 2003 plug, now is the time for businesses to start their migration," Brisbois said. "IT management should evaluate their entire technology environments – from hardware and application workloads to the data living on their servers – to figure out the most strategic way forward, be it an on-premises, hybrid or total cloud set-up."

Research Highlights:

  • Softchoice's recent analysis was conducted comparing enterprise Windows Server installations from the same six months of 2013 and 2014, scanning a total of 126,000 corporate servers.

  • The transition away from Windows Server 2003 is slow, but still present. 32 per cent of servers are running Windows Server 2003, decreased from 43 per cent in 2013.

  • Organizations are choosing to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 in favor of Microsoft's newest offering, Windows Server 2012. 63 per cent of servers are running Server 2008, an increase from 54 per cent in 2013.

  • Businesses are still experimenting with Windows Server 2012. Just 4 per cent of servers are running Windows Server 2012, a slight increase from 1 per cent in over the same period in 2013.




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