Has it really been a decade since Windows Server 2003 hit the market? Technology has come a long way in 10 years. Think about it: today’s servers run workloads for mobile application hosting, social collaboration platforms, streaming video and web hosting. That’s a far cry from a time where only 55 percent of US homes were connected to the Internet. One thing that hasn’t changed on the server front, though, is the requirement for 24/7 performance.
But what happens to performance if a strategic vendor stops supporting your operating system?
As Microsoft plans to end support for Windows Server 2003 in 2015, now is the perfect time to migrate your workloads to Server 2012 so you don’t get left in the cold when support ends.
10 Years Ago
To put it into perspective, here are a few of technology highlights from 2003:
- The Camera Phone: 2003 was the year that camera phones took off. Time magazine suggested that this technology invention was as profound as the Internet. “Like the Internet before them, camera phones open up a new and surprisingly spontaneous way to communicate,” wrote Anita Hamilton for Time magazine.
- iTunes: In 2003, Apple transformed the music industry with the introduction of iTunes. Today the iTunes store generates enough revenue to make it one of Apple’s crown jewels.
- The Xbox: In 2003 Xbox Live redefined how people played games together through the Internet. Xbox Live enabled game play on an international level. While it officially launched late in 2002, Xbox Live use surged in 2003 and altered the course of online gaming.
Think of how far we've come since these game-changing launches. Now, think of how each specific offering has been updated and has evolved to solidify its place in the technology hall of fame.
Consider this for the Windows Server 2003 OS which deployed that same year:
- The last Service Pack was more than six years ago
- Regular “mainstream” support ended three years ago
- The product is now on “extended support”
- Final support ends in 24 months
Performance, security and server management issues on this platform will continue to escalate, which will cost you time and money. Also, to run a secure IT infrastructure that meets the legal and regulatory requirements of many organizations, you will have to pour resources into monitoring and isolating any servers that run Windows Server 2003.
Server 2003 won't suddenly stop working as soon as support expires. Your Windows Server 2003 workloads will keep on running and your users will still be able to access the resources they require. However, there are a number of issues to be aware of.
Without support, Windows Server 2003 will cost more to operate as will the workloads you run on it. Keeping these systems online will result in mounting operational expenses.
There are also capital expense discussions to be had concerning end of support. For instance, upfront costs of required tools - intrusion detection systems, more advanced firewalls, network segmentation and so forth - are such that buying new Server 2012 licenses is almost guaranteed to be cheaper.
Regardless of the path you choose to discuss this with the IT powers that be, the importance of end of support cannot be ignored. When support ends in 2015, bug fixes basically stop. New vulnerabilities won't be addressed and your Server 2003 systems will become a massive security risk.
The legal requirement to have an independent audit performed at regular intervals if you run outdated software is another consideration for an increasing number of businesses. Those audits can be pricey, often clocking in at more than the cost of new licenses.
Options To Consider
For many, the transition mechanism will be virtualization. If your Windows Server 2003 instance isn’t virtualized already, you can utilize our hosting experience at Rackspace to help ensure a modern architecture is part of your migration. We can convert both physical boxes and other types of virtual machines. With full support for our hybrid cloud offering, now is a good time to consider an upgrade to Windows Server 2012 for better performance, enhanced security and compliance features, and easier management. When you migrate to Rackspace with a managed service level, you will get the best a four-time Microsoft hosting partner of year can bring.
Recommendations From Rackspace
For some, the pain of an upgrade lies in the legwork of testing and certification of the new operating system, getting apps ported and training admins on the new administrative interfaces.
For others, the pain comes from the amount of assessment and recommended options to get precious funding. It's true: the jump from Server 2003 to Server 2012 is a big one from a technology perspective. But Rackspace or our partners can help with this difficult transition by offering the following recommendations:
Learn more about Windows Server 2003 Migrations:
1. Assess your needs
Utilize the FREE Rackspace Cloud Assessment Tool to assess your upgraded server needs and submit your information if you want to be contacted about upgrading Windows Server from Rackspace.
2. Migrate yourself with partner services
Work with our partners like Website Movers to get a comprehensive suite of migration services with a full service “white glove” guaranteed migration, including assessment of your infrastructure and application requirements. Of course, you still benefit from Fanatical Support for consulting help with your cloud architecture and migration planning.
This approach is ideal for:
- More complex workloads
- Advice on getting the right environment and the best approach to migrate your application
- Companies that already have or need expert technical specialists to drive the migration
Learn more about Website Movers – http://websitemovers.com/rackspace
3. Advanced Professional Services with Rackspace Fanatical Support
Let Rackspace fully engage in migration planning with a deep bench of professional services to make your move to the Rackspace infrastructure as smooth as possible. We'll handle all of the planning and heavy lifting to get you into a better performing and sustainable environment.
This approach is recommended for:
- Complex workloads
- Extreme time constraints
- Advanced needs for your new environment
- Complete re-architecting requirements for your new environment