100 days: the clock ticks down on support for Windows Server 2003

Mike Heald, Cloud & Enterprise, Microsoft Australiamikeheald

Remember when Microsoft announced it would be ending supporting Windows Server 2003? Did you look at the deadline date – July 14, 2015 – and think ‘I must do something about that’? Well, now that future is fast approaching with just 100 days to go.

Windows Server 2003 served its purpose well for its time, and may still be doing a serviceable job. But its limitations in today’s cloud-first, mobile-first world mean that it increasingly doesn’t meet the needs of businesses that operate in an environment that requires constant innovation.

And especially so after support ceases in 100 days!

Modernising your infrastructure to Windows Server 2012 or the Microsoft cloud is an opportunity for all organisations, from the largest of enterprises to the smallest of small businesses, to step into the modern world.

When upgrading, small businesses need to decide on what makes the most sense – upgrade to a new server, go to the cloud or a combination of both (hybrid approach).

For businesses that wish to use local servers and that have dedicated IT staff or a trusted technology partner, Windows Server 2012 or a hosted solution from one of our partners are likely to be great choices, as they provide easily managed modern infrastructure that helps businesses run more efficiently.

Alternatively, for businesses ready to take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of the Microsoft cloud, then the Microsoft Azure and Office 365 are the way to go.

Last December Microsoft and Intel commissioned international analysis firm IDC to research the benefits of businesses moving to Winders Server 2012.

The study of 88 organisations across Asia Pacific found impressive benefits in three key areas: increased virtualisation, greater automation and reduced hours of work required – all of which meant savings in time and cost.

Increased virtualisation density enables IT to do more with what they have, with larger organisations being found to have an average of 121 servers and 47.9% virtualisation while smaller organisations had 20 servers on average and 44.5% virtualisation. The adoption of Windows Server 2012 resulted in virtual server densities being increased 12.5% for larger firms and 16.7% for smaller organisations – and all without being manpower intensive.

Automation is driven by Windows PowerShell, which is available on Windows Server 2012, and is a critical feature for IT to minimise the time and errors associated with repetitive tasks. The white paper showed that move than a third (37.5%) of small organisations were able to automate an average of 10 tasks, with a similar number (33.9%) of large organisations using PowerShell to automate an average of 19 tasks.

Before the change from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012, 15.6% those small organisations had no automation at all.

The IDC white paper was able to quantify the number of work hours saved through the update, with smaller organisations saving 20 work hours per month and larger organisations 30 work hours per month.

As Simon Piff, IDC’s Associate Vice President, Enterprise Infrastructure said, “CIOs may have misconceptions that migrations will be too costly an exercise for their organisations. However, delaying migration may incur greater costs in the long run, with downtime associated with security or compliance risks and more resources being used to support outdated servers or creating workaround solutions.”

Victorian water trading exchange Waterpool, migrated to Microsoft Azure and as a result has seen a complete transformation of its business – automating processes, speeding up trades and enabling the organisation to be always on-service.

Bible College of South Australia  modernised by migrating from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012. It’s proved something of a revolution to both students and staff, enabling students to access the library catalogue from anywhere at any time and giving lecturers the opportunity to institute a more integrated learning environment in the classroom.

It’s also made the College aware of the enormous changes that have occurred since Windows Server 2003 was released, with the College now looking to run the MYOB accounting system through the cloud, complete with a level of interaction not previously possible.

With increased security, the incredible agility which comes with moving to Windows Server 2012 or Microsoft Azure or Office 365, (which are both now offered out of Australian data centres) the justification for moving from Windows Server 2003 is clear.

It’s more a question of when to move, rather than why.

But there’s only 100 days to go.

For more information on Windows Server 2003 migration visit our end of support website which provides guidance for the entire migration process along with information about the services and tools available from assessment and training.

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