Windows Server 2003 is the elephant in the room

  • Posted on April 6, 2016

Windows Server 2003It’s been almost a year since Microsoft retired Windows Server 2003 from extended support and, from Avanade research last year, we found that roughly 50% of organizations would be running on Server 2003 after the support date. The reasons for this varied, but the majority seemed to put it down to complexity of the migration and the simplicity of just purchasing a (relatively cheap, at least when compared to migrating) custom support agreement (CSA) from Microsoft. That point is the key reason for talking about this again now. Clients who purchased a CSA from Microsoft will shortly be presented with a bill doubling the cost of that support and then in 2017 it is set to double again. For many clients this begins to tip the scales on the cost of maintaining a legacy environment vs modernizing.

Faced with this, we see three options:

  1. Pay Up. For example, an environment of 1500 servers running Server 2003 could cost $1.8million, up from $900k in 2015.
  1. Ditch the CSA (if you had one in the first place) and take the risk. With security being so key to today’s organizations, this isn’t a likely approach, especially with Microsoft reporting Server 2003 having up to 13x more infections than its newest server releases in Q3 and Q4 2014.
  1. Invest the money you’d be looking at in support costs into modernizing your IT.

Of course it’s the third point which we really want to explore and there is a great opportunity to use a Windows Server 2003 migration as a catalyst to drive larger scale IT modernization. This type of project is often compared to re-wiring the home, and today is a great time to use a project like this to future-proof yourself, ready for the impending Digital and Cloud revolutions and the same should be understood for your business IT.

That said, if not done right, you spend a lot of time & money and at the end of the project there is no real benefit – the lights still turn on, just as they did before. Hooray.

Start viewing this change as the first steps to modernizing your environment to become a platform to drive realbusiness value. To learn more about our approach, take a look at our Windows Server 2003 modernization brochure.

In our next blog post, we will discuss the recommended steps on beginning this journey, and how we can help get you there.

Leigh Schvartz

Part 2 in the series is now online where we review the options available! 

May 10, 2016

Scott Waymack

Thanks for your comments and glad to get feedback.  Please stay tuned for the next posts!

April 11, 2016


Excellent short article, i did read it twice so sorry for that, i've passed it 
on to my associates, so with any luck they will enjoy it as well.

April 10, 2016

Gavin Anderson

I searched for the article title and discovered this,
great read

April 9, 2016

Caleb Edwards

fantastic use of words in the article, it really did help when i was 
surfing around

April 9, 2016


I searched for this title and discovered this, didn't think i'd find my answer

April 9, 2016

Aiden Rodriguez

Inside the top ten of my favourite articles, thankyou!

April 8, 2016

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