Should I Upgrade Windows Server 2003?
Microsoft is shutting down support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015, which is less than 300 days away.
Some may wonder, “Why can’t I stay with the 2003 server?” If you choose to continue your use, it will still work for a while; however, there will no longer be software updates to patch vulnerabilities, new versions of applications will not be supported, and compliance issues will arise. We know that some apps haven’t made the leap to Windows Server 2012 and you may need to research and install replacements. We know that upgrading is a time consuming task that might seem unnecessary if your current environment is working correctly. But without security updates, Windows Server 2003 is a ticking time bomb.
If your company stores sensitive data, local and national laws might demand that you migrate your servers or you will not be able to maintain a secure system in order to stay in compliance with their regulations. This can be a huge detriment to your business as a whole.
Check out the IDC white paper, Why You Should Get Current, to see why migrating is in your best interest.
Microsoft has laid out a step-by-step process with tons of information and links to help you migrate over to the updated version, Windows 2012:
- Download the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit, which helps determine the specific applications and workloads that are still running Windows Server 2003.
- Take the Upgrading Skills assessment to help categorize applications and workloads by type, importance, and degree of complexity.
- Give the Windows Server 2012 R2 a try. Microsoft offers a trial version to help get you started.
- Build your migration plan by downloading the Deployment Toolkit.
While making the transition there are a couple things to keep in mind:
- Lay out goals for how you want your end environment to function.
- Put together an inventory list of your existing systems and applications in your Windows Server 2003 environment in order to make transferring them over to the new system smoother.
- Consider virtualizing your setup or moving some workloads to a public cloud, helping to develop a more efficient environment.
- Be sure to create backups of all data before attempting to migrate.
- After migrating, do another inventory of your new environment in order to compare the two and ensure everything made the transition.
The average migration takes about 200 days, so time is of the essence. Keep checking the countdown clock on the Microsoft official website, which has the time stated all the way down to seconds. Procrastination is not your friend on this; the sooner you get this done, the sooner you can get on with your life.