Less than 100 days to end of support for Windows Server 2003

 |   Singapore News Center

With 66% of organisations in Singapore still hanging on to at least one instance of outdated Windows Server 2003, IT leaders are faced with the challenge of managing security and compliance risks or the opportunity to modernise for today’s mobile-first, cloud-first needs.

Singapore, 7 April 2015 – Microsoft is reaching out to its customers across Asia Pacific to advise that time is running out for organisations with less than 100 days to the end of support deadline for Windows Server 2003 on 14 July 2015. This is already an extended date and is based on its standard lifecycle support policies. IT leaders need to move quickly to protect the applications and information residing on old servers and to use it as an opportunity to realise the business benefits of moving to modern platforms like Windows Server 2012 as outlined in a recently commissioned report by IDC Asia Pacific.

According to Spiceworks, a global professional network of more than 5 million IT Professionals, 59.8% of organisations which use its tools in Asia Pacific are still running at least one instance of Windows Server 2003 as of March 2015. This represents a drop of 5 percentage points in Windows Server 2003 usage since June 2014.

In Singapore, 66% of organisations which use Spiceworks tools are still running at least one instance of Windows Server 2003 as of March 2015, higher than the Asia Pacific average. However, this represents a 7 point decline in Windows Server 2003 usage since June 2014.

For companies still using Windows Server 2003 after the end of support deadline, these servers will be particularly vulnerable as no new security patches will be made available. This is especially critical, given the fast-paced evolution of security threats. In fact, since January 2014, 47 new vulnerabilities were identified on Windows Server 2003 according to Secunia, a global player in software vulnerability management.

Joey Tan, Cloud & Enterprise Business Group Lead at Microsoft Singapore, said: “IT demands have changed dramatically since the launch of Windows Server 2003 more than 11 years ago. IT leaders across all industries are now managing an infrastructure that demands support for cloud, mobility, social and data-intensive applications. In addition, the increasing security and privacy threats are pressuring businesses of all sizes to transform in this new mobile-first, cloud-first world. All of which cannot be met with old technology platforms.”

IDC Asia Pacific White Paper shows clear business benefits of modernizing

The IT Balancing Act: Maintenance Guy or Innovator

While the end of support for Windows Server 2003 marks an important, immovable deadline, there are numerous benefits for IT decision makers to completely move any of their operations off the old platform to newer platforms like Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure.

In December 2014, IDC Asia/Pacific undertook a study of 88 organisations in Asia Pacific[1] to understand the business benefits gained by businesses which moved to Windows Server 2012. Entitled “Understanding the business value of migrating to Windows Server 2012”, the study was commissioned by Microsoft and Intel, to understand the full benefit from investments in a modern IT infrastructure. The survey found that companies that have made the migration have seen positive outcomes in three key areas:

  1. Increased virtualisation density enables IT to do more with what they have – Microsoft’s virtualisation capability is called Hyper-V, which is embedded in Windows Server 2012 and provides more capacity to virtualise environments without being manpower intensive. Large organisations have an average of 121 servers and virtualise about 47.9%, while smaller organisations have an average of 20 servers and virtualise about 44.5%. In addition, they were able to increase virtual server densities from between 12.5% for larger organisations, to as much as 16.7% for smaller organisations when moving from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012.
  2. Increased levels of automation reduces costs, time and errors – This was driven by the feature, Windows PowerShell which is available in Windows Server 2012. Automation is a critical feature for IT to minimise time and errors associated with repetitive tasks. The study shows that 37.5% of smaller organisations are using PowerShell to automate an average of 10 tasks. Prior to the introduction of PowerShell, 15.6% of these organisations had no automation whatsoever. For large organisations, 33.9% are using PowerShell to automate an average of 19 tasks. Almost all or 94.7% of this group already had some levels of automation, as would be expected in an enterprise environment.
  3. Reduced man-hours, giving more time back to IT – With increased capability to automate in Windows Server 2012, IT organisations saved man-hours doing repetitive work which allowed their IT staff focus on other things. The study shows that the average number of man-hours per month saved was 20 for smaller organisations and 30 for larger organisations.

The study found that these companies also experienced improved levels of security, ability to maintain compliance, manageability and overall performance in their IT infrastructure after the adoption of Windows Server 2012.

Simon Piff, Associate Vice President for Enterprise Infrastructure at IDC Asia/Pacific, 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, more resources being used to support outdated servers or creating workaround solutions.”

Timothy Ngui, Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President, Corporate Services, Ghim Li Global Pte Ltd, said:” CIOs should compare the incremental risk exposure and cost of maintaining ageing hardware and software, versus the cost of investing in new technology which can drive efficiency in the long run. Organisations can benefit from an extremely short return on investment multiplier effect in Windows Server 2012 through virtualisation, thin provisioning, automation and advanced support for enterprise mobility.”

More choice and help available

Joey added: “Customers have more cost-effective choices than ever before which include on premise infrastructure, a hybrid approach or to go completely to the cloud, depending on their needs and budget. More importantly, choosing to modernise rather than to operate as they did in the past will enable them to align better with business growth strategies while providing adequate security and compliance measures for today.”

Companies looking to migrate can also refer to Microsoft resources, including:

  1. Windows Server 2003 end of support website which provides customers with guidance for the entire migration process along with information about the services and tools available from assessment and training, through to comprehensive platform migration services and risk management;
  2. A migration planning assistant is also available to help organisations analyse their Windows Server 2003 workloads and generate a summary report showing recommendations and Microsoft partner offerings; and
  3. Partners including Dell, HP and numerous other system integrators have new hardware and service in place to help expedite the migration process. Larger enterprise customers who may need more time to complete their migration may also explore custom support agreements with Microsoft during their transition period.

“The path to a secure, modern data centre starts with a powerful hardware foundation. Customers that are currently running Windows Server 2003 have the opportunity to update both their software and hardware to gain performance and security benefits. By refreshing to Windows Server 2012 R2 with Intel Xeon Processors E5 v3 product family, customers will receive up to three times more performance, increased energy efficiency across all workloads, and a secure next-generation cloud platform,” said Michelle Johnston Holthaus, Vice President of the Sales and Marketing Group, Intel Corporation.

[1] Organisations that participated in this IDC study were from Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

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