Redmond View

Time Is Running Out for Windows Server 2003

Official support for the aged Microsoft product ends this summer. Is your shop ready?

The clock is always ticking on a Microsoft product that has outlived its useful life -- at least in the view of the decision makers in Redmond. Support drops from many of those wares with little fanfare, given the constant cycle of releases that come and go. Last year's end of life for Windows XP generated a lot of attention given how massively it was deployed by consumers and enterprises alike.

While it didn't quite create the hype of Y2K 15 years ago, the final call for Windows XP generated mass media headlines. Many were angered by Microsoft's insistence on pulling the plug on Windows XP because they were and still are dependent on apps and hardware incompatible with Windows 7.

Nearly a year later it isn't hard to spot a PC in public running Windows XP, whether at a major bank, retail outlet or at your local doctor's office. Though the reported figures suggest much fewer Windows XP-based PCs remain in use, it's still formidable. And as long as those systems are connected to the Internet or a local network, they remain a threat to those who use them and others to which they're connected.

Now many of you face another critical deadline. Windows Server 2003 is the next major system Microsoft will no longer support as of July 14 of this year. Windows Server 2003 certainly isn't as omnipresent as Windows XP was, hence it won't generate as much attention in the mass media. But in many ways, updating these servers is just as important, if not more so, than refreshing those old PCs.

In some datacenters, Windows Server 2003 may represent one or two in a farm of multiple, more modern servers. But given their connectivity to other nodes on the network, if they're not patched the risk is greater. Have you decided what you're going to do about it?

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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