Microsoft's message for Win Server 2003 users: FLEE FOR YOUR LIVES

No scare tactics here. Nope. Uh, someone say security?

With 160 days to go before extended support for Windows Server 2003 reaches the end of the line, Microsoft has popped up with some scaremongering tactics helpful advice.

Come 14 July, any businesses running the 12-year-old OS will need to cough a princely sum to receive custom support from Microsoft as no more security patches or bug fixes will be issued.

“If you are still running Windows Server 2003, I want to remind you that now is the time to migrate,” said Takeshi Numoto, corporate veep of cloud and enterprise marketing at Microsoft.

We are told by Microsoft it wrote 20 security patches in 2014 and businesses that don’t move before July are opening themselves up to a world of potential pain.

“Running unsupported software carries significant security risks and may result in costly compliance,” said Numoto, and “even a single unpatched server can be a point of vulnerability for your entire infrastructure”.

Most sysadmins or any channel partner worth their salt will know this, and make provisions. The chances of getting hacked will, however, ramp over time, as Gartner previously warned.

In truth, Microsoft has bigger fish to fry – its software runs on less than 15 per cent of intelligent devices. Unleashing valuable coders to write fixes for an old OS is not high on the agenda.

Those who want custom support should be prepared to dig deep: customer support for Windows XP was estimated to be $200 per seat for the first year, $400 for year two and $800 for year three. Gartner anticipates things being more costly for WS03.

Numoto, a man who clearly has a degree in pointing out the bleeding obvious, said customers need to identify remaining instances of Windows Server 2003, analyse workloads and choose the “migration path”.

This might involve moving to a later edition of Windows Server or a cloud service, like say Azure, or God forbid, a rival.

Customers of all sizes including Aston Martin have already migrated, Microsoft told us, now there’s just another circa six million Windows Server 2003 boxes out there, and at last count, roughly 400k in Blighty. ®

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