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Dealing With the Windows 2003 End of Life Server

End of Life Server for Windows 2003

A calendar with the date 15 circled asking Are You Ready to illuBig and small companies alike depend on IT for their day-to-day operations. The data that streams through your IT systems every day is permanently stored in servers to keep companies working smoothly and always on track when it comes to achieving their short and long-term goals. The high value put on information systems within companies comes as no surprise in the digital age, but perhaps a little less discussed is the effective management of these systems especially as the expiry date of Windows server 2003 edges nearer.

July 15th 2015

This particular date marks the end-of-life for the popular Windows 2003 Server platform. In 2012, Microsoft launched its updated server (MS2012) and announced that come July of next year, they will be permanently be stopping support for its 2003 counterpart. This means that from the 15th of July you will no longer be covered for patches, fixes or receive any Microsoft support.

So what does this mean for businesses like yours and how can you best adapt to the oncoming change?

The Things to Consider in Upgrading

You may not be an IT specialist but it’s best to know how this change will affect you and your business. So here are some useful tips and insights to help you along your way:

  • Applications – a key relationship to understand when considering the shift from Windows 2003 to Windows 2012 are the applications involved as well as the servers. Your applications contain the data you've encoded in that specific format. Shifting one format to another would be simple enough, but when applications cross platforms and different servers, you may experience compatibility issues and therefore starting early gives you chance prepare and adapt.
  • The main caveat in shifting from the 2003 Server to Server 2012 is ensuring all your data will be transferred and re-formatted correctly and accordingly. Considering the heaps of data across all applications which are in turn connected to different servers, you can see why switching main servers becomes a more difficult task.
  • Inventory and Infrastructure – as previously pointed out, the relationship between your applications and your servers is important. Among the things you need to consider in shifting servers, are the list of applications you have in your system and the manner in which they are performing their tasks. The next step is accounting for the connections between your applications and your servers - the infrastructure of your information system.
  • Mapping and Migrating Data – 'Mapping your system' involves defining the dependency between your applications and servers. 'Migrating' is the transfer of data from the 2003 server to the 2012 version. The success of your move would have already been based on the accuracy of your inventory and infrastructure review, the mapping and migration of your data makes up the last area of shifting servers and updating your system.

Where Do I Start?

In any big change, it's best to prepare beforehand:

  • Arm yourself with the key information about server upgrading and make sure you spend time thinking about all your options when considering the best way forward for your company.
  • When choosing an IT team to help you through the change, make sure they answer the things we've touched on in this article and make sure they present you with all your choices. You can take advantage of our free network heath check here and get a full report of your current IT infrastructure complete with a range of sensible options to suit your budget and business needs.
  • Think about your 2015 annual budget and work in the cost of the upgrade.
  • Prepare your calendar to have a few interrupted days while the work is carried out.
  • If you upgrade any of your applications simultaneously, you may need to think about training for yourself and staff.

If you have server 2003 and have any more questions regarding it's impending end-of-life, please just give our friendly team a call on 01908 257 352