Support for Windows Server 2003 ends on July 14th, 2015

Microsoft is not just ending Windows Server 2003 support (aka Win2K3), it is also ending support for System Center Endpoint Protection or Forefront Endpoint Protection on Windows Server 2003. Microsoft intends to stop sending updates to anti-malware definitions and the engine for Windows Server 2003.

Windows Server 2003 End of Support is leaving many organisations with insufficient time to upgrade their systems or redesign their applications to remove dependencies on Windows Server 2003. 

According to an article in ITworld “Microsoft won’t completely ignore WS2003; it will still offer extended support for a hefty fee, much more than your current service contracts. Extended support is priced at $600 per server for the first year and increasing after that. With dozens or hundreds of servers in a company, that can run up into the six figures, at which point it would be cheaper to buy new servers with Server 2012 R2 on it.”

The risk is not limited to the OS itself. With so much infrastructure built on Windows Server, databases, middleware, applications and other sensitive information can all be compromised by a single unpatched vulnerability. Windows Server 2003 doesn’t have the compartmentalisation of the later versions, so once an intruder gains access to the OS, they will pretty much have free reign to move around the system unrestricted.

Upgrading to a newer version carries risk of downtime, loss of data as well as requiring significant resources. Luckily, AWS will let organisations like yours run Windows Server 2003 until July 2017, and migration to AWS can be accomplished easily, with no risk of data loss or downtime.

Why should you consider migrating to AWS instead of upgrading right now? 

Windows Server 2003 upgrade is not a straightforward process and requires significant time and resources. You’ll have to identify all of the application workloads and other dependencies running on the server and assess their type, importance, and degree of complexity. You’ll need to pre-create an upgraded OS target for each application and workload (either in the cloud or in an on-premise data center) and then migrate the app and its data and deploy them on the new server. You’ll need to ensure that your old application is fully supported on the new OS. This process is prone to errors, data loss, downtime, and potential issues to only be discovered at a later date.

With Amazon’s 2-year extension, you can now migrate your existing Windows Server 2003 based applications into the cloud and continue to run them in the cloud just like you do today. This will allow you to carefully plan and budget your future OS upgrade path without rushing the process and disrupting your business.

There are several advantages to live-migration of your servers into AWS:

  • Mitigate hardware risks of Windows Server 2003 end of life and end of support by continuing to run them on AWS infrastructure.
  • Continue running applications that require Windows Server 2003, and work on finding an alternative until July 2017.
  • There is no downtime, performance impact, or data loss when migrating to the cloud.

AWS provides you with options, whether you are moving to a modern Microsoft Windows Server operating system, maintaining 32-bit applications in the AWS Cloud, or rewriting legacy applications.

If you are considering moving your infrastructure to the cloud, Data Solutions Group can help you measure your existing workloads, project the optimal cloud capacity cloud to support performance goals and estimate your total cost of ownership.

Discuss yours options and their consequences with DSG today.