100 days: Clock ticks down on Windows Server 2003 support

“It’s more a question of when to move, rather than why.”

Remember when Microsoft announced it would be ending supporting Windows Server 2003?

Did you look at the deadline date – July 14, 2015 – and think ‘I must do something about that’? Well, now that future is fast approaching with just 100 days to go.

“Windows Server 2003 served its purpose well for its time, and may still be doing a serviceable job,” says Mike Heald, Cloud & Enterprise, Microsoft Australia.

“But its limitations in today’s cloud-first, mobile-first world mean that it increasingly doesn’t meet the needs of businesses that operate in an environment that requires constant innovation. And especially so after support ceases in 100 days.”

According to Heald, modernising organisational infrastructure to Windows Server 2012 or the Microsoft cloud is an opportunity for all businesses in New Zealand, Australia and the rest of the world, from the largest of enterprises to the smallest of small businesses, to step into the modern world.

“When upgrading, small businesses need to decide on what makes the most sense – upgrade to a new server, go to the cloud or a combination of both (hybrid approach),” Heald explains.

“For businesses that wish to use local servers and that have dedicated IT staff or a trusted technology partner, Windows Server 2012 or a hosted solution from one of our partners are likely to be great choices, as they provide easily managed modern infrastructure that helps businesses run more efficiently.

“Alternatively, for businesses ready to take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of the Microsoft cloud, then the Microsoft Azure and Office 365 are the way to go.”

Last December Microsoft and Intel commissioned international analysis firm IDC to research the benefits of businesses moving to Winders Server 2012.

Heald recalls that the study of 88 organisations across Asia Pacific found benefits in three key areas: increased virtualisation, greater automation and reduced hours of work required – all of which meant savings in time and cost.

Increased virtualisation density enables IT to do more with what they have, with larger organisations being found to have an average of 121 servers and 47.9% virtualisation while smaller organisations had 20 servers on average and 44.5% virtualisation.

The adoption of Windows Server 2012 resulted in virtual server densities being increased 12.5% for larger firms and 16.7% for smaller organisations – and all without being manpower intensive.

Furthermore, Heald says automation is driven by Windows PowerShell, which is available on Windows Server 2012, and is a critical feature for IT to minimise the time and errors associated with repetitive tasks.

The white paper showed that move than a third (37.5%) of small organisations were able to automate an average of 10 tasks, with a similar number (33.9%) of large organisations using PowerShell to automate an average of 19 tasks.

Before the change from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012, 15.6% those small organisations had no automation at all.

“The IDC white paper was able to quantify the number of work hours saved through the update, with smaller organisations saving 20 work hours per month and larger organisations 30 work hours per month,” Heald explains.

“With increased security, the incredible agility which comes with moving to Windows Server 2012 or Microsoft Azure or Office 365, (which are both now offered out of Australian data centres) the justification for moving from Windows Server 2003 is clear.

“It’s more a question of when to move, rather than why.”

But as Heald points out, there’s only 100 days to go.