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Windows Server 2003 EOL – What You Need to Know Now

AppZero can move applications to the cloud and move to a new version of an OS at the same time, and fast

IT departments hate end of life of products and the resulting headaches. End of life for a product means the support lifeline disappears, security updates stop and IT is left stranded with the compliance team breathing down their neck. Upgrade projects are not a fun sell to the business. "Hey, Ms./Mr. Business, let's invest a bunch of money and time to get the same place you were before"... Gee, let's get out the drill bit and do a root canal while we're at it.

For the Windows 2003 Server family you should know the following:

  • On July 13, 2010 Mainstream Support for Windows Server 2003 family ended.
  • On July 14, 2015 Extended Support for Windows Server 2003 family will end.

**Microsoft's product support lifecycle information can be found here

If you dive into the details of Mainstream Support and Extended Support you will see that you get nothing once Extended Support ends. Nothing, nada, zilch - you are on your own. No more paid support, no security updates, no product-specific information available in the online Microsoft knowledge base or support site to find answers to technical questions. Check here for the official Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ.

At this phase in a product's lifecycle, the software company is putting a gun to your head and saying upgrade or die.

No one is going to argue (at least not strongly) in favor of running business applications on an operating system that does not get security updates. Compliance teams will see this as a huge risk and will move heaven and earth to remediate it. In the next 12 months many IT departments around the world will be assembling WS2003 EOL SWAT teams to address this challenge. This will be like a mini Y2K forcing function for most enterprise IT departments.

Recently, we at AppZero were helping an enterprise division evaluate moving to the cloud with one of our SI partners, and the following picture of their regional data center emerged. The population of machines in the data center was slightly over 80% Windows Server and only detailed for Windows population of machines as outlined below:








2008 Standard edition




2008 (R2) Standard edition




2008 (R2 Enterprise edition




2003 Standard edition




2003 Enterprise addition x64




Windows 2000




It should be noted that this is a division of a Fortune 500 company that has been in business for well over 70 years. Obviously if you work at a company that was founded in the last 10 years you don't have a machine population anything like this.

The data shows that more than 75% of machines were running on operating systems that are 10 years old or older. These products have outdated diagnostics and management features, and without access to patches are a growing risk. The desire to transform the data center (i.e. move to some type of cloud) and modernize (i.e. dump old environments and run on newer ones) became very clear.

And that's where AppZero comes in. We can move applications to the cloud and move to a new version of an OS at the same time, and fast. You can see AppZero in action modernizing enterprise applications in this short video: Migrating SQL Server from Windows 2000 to Windows 2012 in minutes

Here are some key questions for your organization to consider as Windows Server 2003 approaches end of life

  • How many machines in your operations are running Windows 2003?
  • Do you have a plan to remediate the risk of WS2003 EOL?
  • How are you going to upgrade or move to a more modern operating environment?
  • Does moving to the cloud solve this soon-to-be compliance problem?

In the next blog post we will detail options and challenges in upgrading an operating system. Also we'llprovide insight to why Windows Server upgrade occurrences are less likely than being struck by lightning. Anyone who has upgraded more than 1 production Windows Server machine in the past 6 months please connect with me via email or tweet about it using hashtag #WS2003eol.

I am always looking for a way to communicate better and cut to the heart of any discussion. So, if you have thoughts on this subject drop me a line at GregO {@} Appzero {dot} com or tweet me at @gregoryjoconnor. Remember to use hashtag #WS2003eol.

More Stories By Greg O'Connor

Greg O'Connor is President & CEO of AppZero. Pioneering the Virtual Application Appliance approach to simplifying application-lifecycle management, he is responsible for translating Appzero's vision into strategic business objectives and financial results.

O'Connor has over 25 years of management and technical experience in the computer industry. He was founder and president of Sonic Software, acquired in 2005 by Progress Software (PRGS). There he grew the company from concept to over $40 million in revenue.

At Sonic, he evangelized and created the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) product category, which is generally accepted today as the foundation for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Follow him on Twitter @gregoryjoconnor.

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