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February 4, 2015

Windows Server 2003 users – now is the time to migrate!

Support for the 12-year-old operating system comes to an end in the middle of July.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Microsoft is urging customers to migrate away from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure, or Office 365.

In a blog post, Takeshi Numoto, VP of Cloud and Enterprise Marketing for Microsoft, said: "If you are still running Windows Server 2003, I want to remind you that now is the time to migrate. Support for Windows Server 2003 will end on July 14, 2015."

He added many customers that have already upgraded to newer versions of Windows Server or Microsoft Azure are seeing benefits, such as improved performance, higher reliability and increased flexibility in responding to business needs.

In order to ensure migration is free of problems, Numoto said customers need to identify any remaining instances of Windows Server 2003, analyse which workloads are running on those instances, and choose the right migration path.

"Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure, and Office 365 are all great options for migration, depending on your specific requirements," he said.

For customers who continue to run Windows Server 2003 after end of support, he warned that running unsupported software carries significant security risks and may result in costly compliance violations.

"As you evaluate security risks, keep in mind that even a single unpatched server can be a point of vulnerability for your entire infrastructure," he said.

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"Industry regulations are often country specific, so you should consult your legal, security and audit teams to ensure you understand your compliance landscape."

Numoto outlined 5 possible migration options in his blog post which included:

-Consolidate physical servers or paid virtualization platforms to Hyper-V and save money.
-Migrate workloads like Exchange to Office 365 to get the latest productivity innovations and reduce your management burden.
-Upgrade from SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2014 to achieve mission-critical performance and faster insights on any data.
-Migrate Web applications to Microsoft Azure or our Cloud OS Network, for the improved reach, scale and cost efficiency.
-Update custom or line of business applications to support the needs of today’s globally connected mobile workforce.

Numoto also pointed to the growth opportunities that can emerge due to server upgrades.

"It provides an opportunity to deliver significant business value. Business users expect mobile connected applications that were barely on the horizon with Windows Server 2003. Additionally, technology capabilities have also evolved dramatically in the last decade, with the emergence of cloud and new standards for manageability and security," he said.

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