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ONE FIFTH of Win Server 2003 users to miss support cutoff date

Migration is not a dirty word. Crevice, on the other hand...

A fifth of those running Windows Server 2003 are currently expected to miss Microsoft’s deadline to move before it terminates support next year.

That number will likely increase as Windows Server 2003 migration projects that are underway hit snags and delays.

That’s according to Avanade, which reckons there's a hard core of Microsoft customers with little or now clue on what’s happening on Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft will stop delivering security updates and fixes for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015.

Eleven years after it was released, Windows Server 2003 has become a de facto server platform for many – and is used by 63 per cent of businesses. The client parallel is Windows XP, which – thanks to its stability and the failure of Windows Vista – also became a de facto industry standard.

Forty per cent of users still on Windows Server 2003 will have moved by the end of the year, says Avanade, with 41 per cent expected to get off the elderly OS in the following seven months. Yet the firm reckons project completions will be delayed owing to the sheer complexity of the server-side apps companies are running on Windows Server.

Eight per cent, meanwhile, plan to move after July 14, while a further eight per cent didn’t know what their plans are.

Three per cent of Windows Server 2003 users have no plans at all to migrate away from the OS when support ends. That’s a potential problem for business in regulated sectors, like financial services, who can be fined for putting customers at risk.

Customer data and money can be considered at risk to hackers if they are running software that’s no longer commercially supported with the latest security patches.

The Avanade polls surveyed 100 IT professionals in the UK during July.

Avanade’s head of application development and cloud lead Paul Veitch told The Reg: “Much like with Windows XP, some stuff will be easy but it’s the more critical applications and complex applications that will be difficult to migrate.”

The types of apps that will pose the biggest problems are custom-built, in-house apps, especially where the authors have moved on, and apps that have been heavily customized. Typically these are data-intensive and mission-critical, like ERP.

Easier migrations are things like Exchange Servers, whose email and collaboration capabilities can be replicated in services like Office 365.

Veitch reckons if you haven’t started a migration project, then you should at least come up with a plan that you can show any risk and audit committees at your firm.

“After Windows XP there’s more awareness in business of this problem,” he said.

The pressure caused by Windows XP has raised the question of upgrades as a whole, and the cloud is increasingly being seen as one way to avoid the problem in future.

Three quarters of those that do have a migration plan have the cloud in their sights. According to Avanade, 41 per cent will move some part of their IT estate to the cloud, 29 per cent will move “most” of it, and seven per cent will float the lot.

“There’s a trend in the enterprise space – people are talking about in the heavily regulated enterprise organisations about moving to the cloud. Two years ago, the easy option was the next operating system. Today people are talking about moving DR [disaster recovery] functionality to the cloud,” Veitch said. ®

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