Microsoft Server 2003 EOL Overview

Still running Windows Server 2003? Microsoft has announced that the end of life (EOL) for Windows Server 2003 (WS2003) is July 14, 2015. We are quickly approaching the EOL of what most IT administrators and technicians consider the most stable and problem-free Windows Server operating system. WS2003 R2 has been a metaphorical rock.

Industry experts estimate that there are more than 10 million machines across the globe still running WS2003. There are still many businesses running it in production today, and many will continue to do so until end-of life or close to that date, for various reasons.

In the past several years, Windows XP and WS2003 have played a very important part in the progress of companies’ IT infrastructures. It should be a cause for alarm that so many businesses are still reliant upon an operating system originally released almost 10 years ago. The matter also concerns all the applications developed for WS2003, since they will not work on the newer OS. Also, migration is not easy at all: it has been calculated that over 200 days are required to complete it successfully.

In parallel with WS2003 EOL, Citrix has recently reviewed the lifecycle for XenApp and Presentation Server, announcing the end of extended support for WS2003 on July 14, 2015. For more information about this, read the article XenApp Fundamentals EOL - What’s next after the end-of-life for XenApp Fundamentals?

All this is a sword of Damocles hanging over IT administrators, who have to maintain all systems up and running with WS2003 EOL getting closer every day. In the last 10 years, many customized applications have been developed to meet companies’ specific needs; all of these have to be rewritten in order to continue functioning. Traditional methods of modernizing applications - reinstalling, upgrading the machine or rebuilding - are extremely complex, expensive and time consuming. It is very likely that not all applications will be ready for the July 2015 cutoff, not all systems will be tested in time, and it is almost impossible to guarantee business as usual.

The vast majority of businesses neglect server migration and upgrade planning, allowing insufficient lead time and resulting in last-minute, frantic, stressful and risky forced migration in order to ensure continuity of service, support and security.

2X RAS Windows Server 2003 migration approach

WS2003 will not suddenly stop working as soon as support expires. The file server will still serve files, and users will still be able to access the resources they require. A virtualized instance of WS2003 will reduce the risk of an OS without support and security patches. The migration is mandatory, but it need not be done all at one go. With a good plan, you can migrate to WS2012 with reduced complexity and risk.

2X Remote Application Server (2X RAS) has a unique feature that allows you to manage and publish applications and remote and virtual desktops from the most common hypervisors: Hyper-v, VMware and Citrix. IT administrators can publish different applications from different hypervisors at the same time. This vendor independence means that 2X RAS broadly delivers the same features and functionality, with the same interface, regardless of the technology in use.

2X RAS is compatible with the several versions of Windows Server, including WS2003, meaning that in the same farm you can administer WS2003 and WS2012. The migration process has to occur in different stages: initially very few corporate applications will be ready for the new OS. The possibility to work simultaneously with two different OSs reduce complexity and keeps your business up and running while you are working on application updates.

As opposed to the main actors in the arena, such as Citrix, 2X will continue to support WS2003 in order to give businesses the possibility to migrate from this OS at their own pace. With a broader timeframe, companies have the opportunity to create a more convenient and less stressful migration path as doomsday approaches.

2X software is built to facilitate the day to day job of the IT administrator, by offering the best solution for application virtualization, remote desktop and VDI. 2X RAS is an all-in-one solution, with no extra components required, which allows you to leverage your existing infrastructure and drive your company to the next level.

Conclusion

There have been many changes in IT over the last several years: the evolution from 32 to 64 bits, the virtualization of Server, Desktop and Application, and now the EOL of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Companies have to leverage new technologies to maintain high productivity and reduce operational cost. The migration from WS2003 offers the opportunity to take the latest technical advances on board.

The migration from WS2003 is complex and very expensive in terms of planning, cost and risk. Many corporate applications will not work on the latest OSs, so that day to day business activities are at risk. Delays in planning for the event might force companies to recklessly undertake a fast and furious migration over the next few months.

2X RAS offers you the possibility of continuing to work with Windows Server 2003, allowing your IT administrator to deal with WS2003 EOL over a longer timeframe. With 2X RAS it is possible to mix different versions of Windows Server (2003, 2008 and 2012), avoiding the restriction of having to use only one OS to run all operations. With 2X RAS, the IT administrator can manage the whole infrastructure through one central console, and can publish applications for WS2003 or WS2012 at the same time, with no limits. Applications that are ready for WS2012 can move to the new OS straight away while other applications can continue running on WS2003.

The 2X stepwise approach is indicated for companies that are struggling to meet the 14 July 2015 doomsday.


References 

  1. Microsoft Server 2003 EOL - Windows Server 2003 End of Life is Coming Are You Ready? http://blog.appzero.com/blog/windows-server-2003-end-life-coming-are-you-ready-survey
  2. Microsoft Server 2003 EOL -Windows Server 2003 Rapidly Approaches End-Of-Life, Watch Out For Performance Bottlenecks http://blogs.technet.com/b/mspfe/archive/2013/04/29/windows-server-2003-rapidly-approaches-end-of-life-watch-out-for-performance-bottlenecks.aspx
  3. Microsoft Server 2003 EOL - Windows Server 2003 and 2003 R2 EOL Announcement http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/430674-windows-server-2003-and-2003-r2-eol-announcement
  4. Microsoft Server 2003 EOL - Microsoft Product Lifecycle Search http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?alpha=Windows+Server+2003
  5. Microsoft Server 2003 EOL - Windows Server 2003 end of life: Plan your WS2012 migration now http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/06/27/a_guide_to_migrating_to_windows_server_2012/
  6. Microsoft Server 2003 EOL - Windows Server 2003 End-Of-Life Support Rapidly Approaching: What’s Your Action Plan? http://www.rackspace.com/blog/windows-server-2003-end-of-life-support-rapidly-approaching-whats-your-action-plan/
  7. Microsoft Server 2003 EOL - Many Microsoft Products Losing Support After April 8, Not Just Windows XP http://redmondmag.com/articles/2014/04/08/products-losing-support.aspx
  8. Microsoft Server 2003 EOL - How Long is Too Long? – Window Server 2003R2 End of Life is Coming http://discover.profitstars.com/strategicallyspeaking/bid/66770/How-Long-is-Too-Long-Window-Server-2003R2-End-of-Life-is-Coming
  9. Microsoft Server 2003 EOL - Microsoft warns of pending support deadlines for Windows 7, Office 2010 SP1, Windows Server 2003, and more http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-warns-of-pending-support-deadlines-for-windows-7-office-2010-sp1-windows-server-2003-and-more-7000031348/
  10. Microsoft Server 2003 EOL - Making the case for upgrading from Server 2003 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/23/windows_server_2003_reasons_to_upgrade_analysis/
  11. Microsoft Server 2003 EOL -Balancing cost and risk: Migrating from Windows Server 2003 to the cloud http://www.slideshare.net/Appzero_inc/balancing-cost-and-risk-migrating-from-windows-server-2003-to-the-cloud
  12. Microsoft Server 2003 EOL - The costs and risks of migrating from Windows Server 2003 to the cloud http://research.gigaom.com/report/the-costs-and-risks-of-migrating-from-windows-server-2003-to-the-cloud/


Leave a Reply