Microsoft have announced that they will be ceasing extended support of all instances of Windows 2003 on 14th July this year. There are around 24 million instances of Windows 2003 still being used worldwide and it has been predicted that at least 20% of these will continue to be run after the cut-off date. Companies are being strongly urged to migrate prior to the discontinuation of support as these servers will become more exposed to attack from hackers, as security patches and fixes will no longer be developed and available.
This comes at an unfortunate time, as some companies may still be undergoing the transitional period following last year’s discontinuation of Windows XP extended support. Whilst the situations are comparable a server upgrade is far more complicated than that of a desktop, with potentially greater ramifications.
Dependent on the amount of applications involved planning, testing and migrating to a new operating systems can be a complicated process which can take many months and man hours to complete. So it is understandable why some Businesses will make the decision to hold off migrating for as long as possible. However this can increase the risk of susceptibility to attacks, especially after manufacturer support has ceased. There is of course the option of paying a premium for extended support after the discontinuation of standard extended support; however this may be a very expensive option. Paul Kunert from ‘The Register’ writes:
“Talking to The Register, Gartner Vice President and distinguished analyst Carl Claunch, said the cost of tailored support on WS2003 will vary by customer, but will likely be up to three times more expensive.
“I don’t want to disclose specific numbers but I can say that it is pretty common to see that the aggregate cost for the client is in the seven digit range, so it is pretty expensive,” he told us.
Of course, customers who want to buy custom support need to already have a Premier Support Agreement, or to buy one if they don’t, which is another incrementally “substantial cost”, said Claunch. He estimates Microsoft will also want to see some evidence of migration plans before providing support.”
Furthermore this is not a long term alternative states Al Gillen of IDC in his whitepaper “Windows Server 2003: Why You Should Get Current” sponsored by Microsoft:
“Once extended support expires on July 14, 2015, all these support activities will be eliminated. Microsoft does offer for-fee custom contracts — which extend for a limited period beyond the termination of extended support — to customers that are actively working to migrate to a next generation product. This option is not for the faint of wallet and is intended only for organisations that are making a proactive effort to migrate off the product being supported beyond its normal life cycle. It is not intended to be an open-ended support offering to all customers to retain Windows Server 2003 installations in current deployments for the long term.”
The end of support of Windows 2003 is imminent, and those who don’t upgrade soon will face uncertainty and increased risk of Cybercrime, so act now, the clock is ticking.
Watch this space for more information from Qube regarding the Microsoft Windows 2003 situation, but to be sure you don’t miss any further updates you can find us at www.qubems.com, on Twitter @ http://bit.ly/18VOhuw or on LinkedIn @ http://linkd.in/1FuApEJ