How to prepare for Server 2003 End of Life

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Microsoft Migration Microsoft announced that support for Windows Server 2003 (including R2) will officially end on July 14, 2015.

Whilst your IT might be running quite happily on your current Windows 2003 server, the ceasing of support will mean complications and increased risks to your business.

What does End of Life really mean?

In the simplest terms, it will mean that from July 14, Microsoft will not be offering any more patches or updates for this product. Because Microsoft will cease supporting this old technology, if there are any future security or stability issues, data could become vulnerable. In 2013 alone, Microsoft released 37 critical updates for Windows Server 2003/R2. These updates helped to keep your data secure and stable in the face of ever-growing malicious malware and the like. After End of Life, you will not have the option to download these updates; because Microsoft will not be making them.

After this date, 2003 Server will no longer receive:

  • Security patches that help protect PCs from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software
  • Assisted technical support from Microsoft
  • Software and content updates including automatic fixes

Business owners and IT technicians might decide that their 2003 operating system still works fine after July 14. Although this is true, anyone that decides to keep their Windows Server 2003/R2 alive will almost certainly have to invest additional IT resources to build stronger firewalls as a way of monitoring and shielding any servers running Server 2003.

Another important point to consider is the issue of compliance. Companies that are governed by regulatory obligations may find they are no longer able to satisfy compliance requirements while running Windows Server 2003. The issue of compliance is vital in several industries like healthcare or finance, and failing to upgrade Windows Server 2003/R2 could be considered de facto non-compliance.

How should you prepare for Windows Server 2003 End of Life?

Essentially, the process of upgrading away from Windows Server 2003 can be broken down into four simple steps.

Step 1.

As a start, you must first recognise exactly what software and workloads are on the 2003 server. Microsoft provided a tool to help you do this. It’s called the Microsoft Assessment Planning Windows Server 2003 end of life (MAP) Toolkit.

Step 2.

Once you’ve recognised what is currently on your 2003 Server, you should organise these applications and workloads into categories, based on the type of application it is, its infrastructure type and how critical this particular application is for the running of your business. If it’s critical, it should therefore be treated as a priority when migrating these apps onto a new operating system.

Step 3.

The next step should be to decide what platform you’ll be migrating to. Will it be Windows Server 2008 (R2) or Windows 2012? Have you thought about migrating to a cloud-based or hybrid option? What type of technology is going to support that infrastructure?

Step 4.

This step is the actual undertaking of the migration itself. At Centrix, we ensure that business continuity is the number one priority and that business disruption is minimal. We do this by assessing a carefully thought-out migration process for our clients.


Please contact us to discuss and prepare for the migration to a modern, supported platform for your company.