Today, April 8th is when support for Windows XP came to it’s extended end of life. It’s now time for you to turn your attention to the next product in your portfolio that is going end of life.
On July 14th 2015 Windows Server 2003 (W2003) and Windows Server 2003 R2 (W2003 R2) will be going end of life. This should be of no surprise; the information was shared publicly years ago. It will be 10 years since the release of W2003 R2, and 12 years since the release of W2003.
How big is this challenge for customers? Or from the partner perspective, how big is this opportunity? Personally, I think it’s much bigger than the XP upgrade. There are several reasons. You’re not dealing with standardised builds. I can’t find market share figures for W2003 but I have heard it said that over 50% of Irish servers are still on W2003 (an 11 year old server OS). And almost every one of those servers has a complex bespoke build that cannot be dealt with using the same levels of automation that we can bring to the desktop. And then there’s the processor architecture challenge.
Migrating server workloads has it’s own set of complexities when compared to desktops. There are lots of workload specific tools to help with migration, and for most of you, that’s what you’ll be doing … a migration.
The vast majority of W2003 installations are 32-bit. Microsoft’s last 32-bit server OS was Windows Server 2008. If you’re going to make a substantial effort, then it makes no sense to upgrade to an old OS (WS2012 R2 > WS2012 > W2008 R2 > W2008).
Realistically, you should be moving to the newest OS that you can. Right now, that is WS2012 R2. You cannot upgrade from x86 to x64, so you’re looking at an opportunity to get fresh rebuilds using your experience at engineering the products that you are running (yeah – that’s a positive spin). In reality, upgrades are messy and bring forward old problems and corruptions. Fresh builds are always best.
You might argue that a new version of Windows Server (2015?) is coming around April and that gives you a few months to upgrade. If that’s how you plan server migrations, then you’re going to be running W2003 long after support and patch availability ends.
So get planning … NOW!
And no, I don’t give a flying monkey’s about your old services that only support W2003. You and your employers need to either pressure those vendors or find a replacement. The world keeps moving, and those who remain static stay in the past and die.
A number of other infrastructure products are also going end of life in the next year or so:
- Compute Cluster Pack: 14 July 2015
- Forefront Client Security: 14 July 2015
- Host Integration Server 2004: 13 January 2015 (I haven’t heard of this one in years)
- Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2004 Enterprise Edition: 14 April 2015
- Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2004 Standard Edition: 14 October 2014
- Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005: 13 January 2015
- Systems Management Server 2003 and 2003 R2: 13 January 2015
- Virtual Server 2005 and Virtual Server 2005 R2: 13 January 2015
There are other things going end of life but I’ve stuck to infrastructure.