Still Using That old Thang…

Still Using That old Thang…

December 2, 2014 0 By Doug Stuman

If you are still using Microsoft Server 2003, support is set to end on July 14, 2015!

This is a big deal. If you are running this soon to be unsupported software the chances are your hardware probably needs an update as well. Not to mention, migrating your server environment is a time intensive process and will probably take longer than you think.

Hackers love outdated software and companies still using Microsoft Server 2003 are a tempting target for those less scrupulous individuals—and their numbers are multiplying if the news is any indication. According to the Microsoft website, data migration can take anywhere from 200 to 300 days to complete! And the more data you have, the longer it takes…

“Yes”, we’re with you, “Holy @#$%!” There is actually a countdown clock on the Microsoft site and the last time I checked there was only 40 days until support ends (as of June 4, 2015 update information here http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/windows-server-2003/). Do the math and we’re already looking at a problem for the longer migration cycle.

How big is the problem?
It is estimated there are more than 22 million instances of the Microsoft Server 2003 installed across the US. Migration services will be hard pressed to accommodate this traffic. Total cost estimates for the migration of all these services is in the $50 billion range, and that doesn’t even include the hardware!

Windows Server 2003 logoSure you can buy yourself a little time running MS 2003 as a guest operating system but who are we kidding? That’s like using duct tape for all your home repairs. Many MS 2003 users are simply not going to make that deadline, and that my friend represents a serious security breach. It’s time to consider alternatives that will close the door to hackers and bring your network up to date.

The main reasons cited for not upgrading:
1.  Time (actually, there isn’t any left)
2.  Budget (With the new year, you might actually have one now.)

Your systems are older than you think
As an IT pro, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that this migration will require upgrades to many of the other compatible programs running in your Microsoft Server 2003 environment. After the migration, most of these compatible programs will likely become immediately incompatible. Older motherboards that support Windows Server 2003 probably won’t support the new chipsets recommended by Microsoft to allow for the installation of Windows Server 2012. Even if you go with Linux Red Hat you’re in the same boat but nice to know you have options.

Planning for Success
Planning at this stage is essential to ensure you have considered all the potential problems, incompatibilities you may encounter, and help to determine the best plan of action. That said, your budget for the conversion will also be a determining factor in whether to upgrade components, use refurbished equipment or purchase a new system entirely—and everything else that goes along with it.

Either way you go, It doesn’t take a psychic to see some IT expenditures in the near future. Itemize those expenses and leave a little room for the unexpected.

Of course there is a silver lining…
After your boss gets over the cost associated with the conversion, you’ll finally get to replace all that old equipment that has been plaguing you for the last few years. You can also consolidate your applications, virtualization platforms, and system tools with the added benefit of enabling you to standardize your diagnostics, improve efficiency, and take advantage of powerful remote management apps that come standard on many of the newer systems.

To help with the migration process, Dell and HP have ramped up their services, offering diagnostic tools, servers, and migration services. While some of these migrations could end in the cloud, many will probably be hardware and software upgrades.

What to get?
There are basically three options to consider.

  1. Upgrade your existing hardware. Upgrading your existing hardware to accommodate the new server software is somewhat problematic and can potentially cause other incompatibility problems.
  2. Purchase new equipment. Always a solid choice but can take quite a chunk out of your budget, and you may have to wait a little while to get what you are looking for.
  3. Purchase refurbished hardware. This offers a much lower cost of entry, and most companies these days offer warranties against defects and failure.

Hopefully you’ve already spent some time researching potential replacement hardware, and have identified your next purchase. Whether you decide to handle the migration yourself or use a service, there’s no time like the present to get started. So roll up your sleeves, grab a cup of Joe and get crackin’ on that migration plan.