Start planning now for Windows Server 2003 End of Support


Do you have servers and applications that have been around for 5 years or more? Do you know what version of Microsoft Server these are running on? Microsoft has announced end of support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015.  This means this server Operating System (OS) will no longer get security patches nor will Microsoft help resolve problems for machines on this platform which could put your network at risk.

What does this mean?

  • Compliance with various standards and regulations can no longer be achieved.
  • These systems will become significantly more vulnerable to attack. In 2013, Microsoft released 37 critical updates for Windows Server 2003/R2. No updates will be developed or released after end of support.
  • Both virtualized and physical instances of Windows Server 2003/R2 are vulnerable. Many applications will cease to support this OS. This also includes Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 servers.

What to do?

  • Understand Microsoft’s announcement and the importance it has to your business.
  • Discover and catalog any servers in your network that are 2003.  Remember to consider areas such as security systems, phone systems, off-network diagnostic apps.  Also consider hosted applications like payroll systems or web servers – your hosted providers should provide in-support platforms also.
  • Identify applications or workloads that reside on these servers and will need to be migrated or supported in some other manner.
  • Target the right destination for each migrating item (physical or virtual server, for example).  Your choice may be driven by factors such as ease of migration and performance, cost and functionality on the target destination.
  • Migrate each application or workload.
  • Retire 2003 servers.

How can SE help?

Understanding: SE is proactively informing our social media follower’s through this article. Existing customers will also receive a letter and, in many cases, a follow-up from their account manager. If you would like to be sure to be included in further communications on this topic please contact us at info@systemsengineering.com and be sure to put “Server 2003” in the subject line.

Discover: SE is proactively reaching out to our customers with known 2003 servers to make them aware of this risk and to develop a migration plan.

Identify, Target, Migrate: As you probably realize, this part of the process will identify the critical migration steps. Any of these factors may apply:

  • third-party vendor dependencies,
  • application upgrades,
  • support system upgrades (e.g. SQL),
  • replacement server selection and purchase, and /or
  • cloud migration, when applicable.

SE’s team covers a broad array of skillsets.  Migration teams can be composed of (or complemented by) SE Project Managers, Engineers, SQL and SharePoint specialists.

Retire: You may need to dispose of old systems and data. SE can line up secure disposal services upon request.

This Windows Server 2003 end of support project will be a significant endeavor for SE; we expect upwards of 100 distinct projects.  We are actively scheduling for this now and encourage you to contact SE at info@systemsengineering.com or online.  Clients can contact their SE Account Manager to discuss and ensure a timely cut over.