End of Windows Server 2003 support: time to move to cloud

  • Posted on July 8, 2015

windows server 2003Microsoft will end all support for Windows Server 2003 after July 15th, 2015. This means that there will no longer be any more security updates or fixes, something the US Department of Homeland Security has identified as a critical threat that leaves businesses still using the server operating system open to cyber-attacks and data loss.

Many businesses now find themselves in a situation where they are looking for a quick fix to this dilemma. They may have mistakenly thought that Microsoft wouldn’t follow through with charging for ongoing custom support agreements.

Some organizations have underestimated the complexity of migrating, with 68% deprioritizing the move and allocating resources elsewhere. According to a study by Avanade, 31% of businesses know what Windows Server 2003 end of support is, yet don’t have a plan to migrate.

The truth is there’s no way to avoid the scale of the task. Migration is a huge operation, and those who speak of quick fixes or miracle cures are selling false promises.

Custom support agreements delay a portion of the pain but costs are expected to rise each year. Third party application vendors will either charge additional fees for out of band support or withdraw support entirely. They simply aren’t a permanent solution.

Organizations need to treat the end of Windows Server 2003 support as an opportunity to achieve business goals including reducing overall operational costs and integrating these workloads with their cloud strategy. Moving to the cloud not only future proofs your infrastructure, it increases agility and drives growth by accelerating innovation.

Avanade’s approach to moving to cloud consists of an 80:20 planning to delivery ratio, which we think is the key to successful modernization. The approach is driven by the complexity of the clients we work with, both global in scale and number of locations. As an example, one of our many clients is a global consumer products company that we’re helping to analyze more than 8,600 servers and 4,000 enterprise applications for compatibility with Azure. Others include financial services, public utilities, and various other industries with server and application counts in the thousands.

Using Avanade's Windows Server Snapshot Analysis we are focusing on the applications first, using the five R’s to decide the delivery of each application:

  • Rehost – can the application be completely moved to cloud without having to reconfigure its infrastructure?
  • Replace – does it need to be substituted with a SaaS solution in order to move to cloud?
  • Re-factor – does the application need to be restructured to connect the application to new infrastructure services?
  • Rebuild – does the existing application code need to be discarded and rebuilt on a provider’s application platform?
  • Revise – do major revisions need to be made to add new functionality or re-architect the application to support legacy modernization?

Our clients can utilize the information driven out of the Snapshot Analysis engagement to eliminate conflicting versions of “the truth” through tools-based server analysis and application research. Then, armed with the reliable information, clients can move forward with eliminating Server 2003 leveraging Avanade’s Server Migration Factory. In combining these services into their Windows Server 2003 retirement strategy, organizations can realize speed to value that is both consistent with real world experience and recognizes the need for rapid progress.

We use this to help clients realize two-speed IT with cloud – both the speed of innovation and speed of operations.

We can all be guilty at times of putting off tasks that will be difficult in the short-term. IT decision-makers should recognize the opportunity that moving to the cloud offers both in the short-term to help solve Windows Server 2003 end of support and long-term to achieve a true digital business.

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