The final chapter has been written in the story of one of the most widely deployed operating systems in Microsoft’s history. As of midnight last Monday, 14 July, the company ceased offering support for Windows Server 2003. This means that there will be no more security updates, non-security hotfixes, free assisted support options or online technical content updates from Microsoft for the ageing platform.
Over the course of the last twelve years, business infrastructure solutions built to run on Windows Server 2003 operating system (OS) helped prepare the way for the information age, by making the use of computing power omnipresent across enterprises as well as small to medium sized businesses.
The OS played the starring role in the success stories of many companies by computerising core business operations such as email and data servers for companies of all sizes over the last decade. New business trends such as mobility, cloud computing, the internet of things, and big data analytics, have along with the arrival of more advanced technology, reshaped the business environment to a point beyond Windows Server 2003’s capabilities and technological limits.
“Windows Server 2003 was not designed for the business requirements of the mobile-first, cloud-first world. Companies still using Windows Server 2003 need to implement additional workarounds to run components in the cloud or when they want to deliver a productivity boost to their employees by connecting them with suppliers and customers from anywhere, anytime, as well as any device,” says Leon Wright, Cloud & Enterprise Business Group Lead at Microsoft SA.
Wright added that many organisations will no longer meet many industrywide compliance standards and regulations after support ends. Running unsupported software also carries with it significant security risks, since companies will no longer receive notifications of vulnerabilities that may affect their servers.
Capitalising upon the modernisation opportunity
The end of support for Windows Server 2003 can have serious impact on your business, but it also represents an opportunity to modernise and upgrade to more powerful, more capable technologies that support improved performance for your organisation.
· Upgrading to newer OS versions like Windows Server 2012 R2 will ensure that businesses have access to a scalable platform that is able to support the way business is being done in the digital era.
· Modernising infrastructure by migrating workloads such as Exchange to Microsoft Office 365 will help staff experience the latest productivity innovations and also reduce your management burden.
· Web applications can be migrated to Microsoft Azure for the improved reach, scale and cost efficiency.
“On the whole, the modernisation process should result in businesses experiencing significant benefits that include improved performance, higher reliability, enhanced security and increased flexibility in responding to business needs,” concludes Wright.