On July 14, Microsoft will officially end support for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2. While the OS technically still works, continuing to run it can pose security risks, compliance issues, and incompatibility with other software(s), as well as reliability concerns.
Migrating from 2003 is stressful, and depending on how it goes, the type of task peoples’ jobs can depend on.
Even though July 14 seems like it’s a long way off, this type of migration takes months to plan. Start planning now. This is a big project, it requires substantial time and resources. You’re already working a lot, so trying to fit in a big project right at the very end of Server 2003’s life cycle would be daunting — and just asking for trouble.
If you don’t have the time or budget, and are concerned about the compatibility of running an upgraded server with your current softwares and apps, maybe you should consider one of the following suggestions from trainer CBT Nuggets trainer James Conrad:
Consider migrating external web servers to the cloud. This would be a less expensive option with built-in redundancy that you may not have yourself.
Consider a minimal upgrade to WS2012 R2. Start by upgrading your active directory, then work on your member servers later.
Consider upgrading a fraction of machines. 2012 servers will run faster and better, so fewer machines would be needed.
Use virtualization to take dozens of 2003 servers and compress them into 1. Hardware and energy expenses will be lower and will in turn produce an ROI worth showing management.
Microsoft has put together a great resource for SysAdmins regarding WS2003 end of life including a migration planning assistant, an informational webinar, and more.
According to trainer Chris Ward, Windows Server 2012 R2 is much more than some bug fixes and slightly better features. In this blog recent post, he shares his top 5 reasons you should learn WS2012 R2 technology.
Just like this “Windows Server 2003 Lifecycle” infographic from Spiceworks says, “It’s time to level up, get secure and retire WS2003!”