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Update Windows Server 2003 or Die?

Failure to update your systems and applications running Windows Server 2003 could have deadly consequences. That's the message that Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Jeffrey Snover conveyed over the weekend when he tweeted his warning about what will happen to those who keep Windows Server 2003-based systems running after July 14:

Not updating from WS2003 is like the guy who jumps off a building on the way down says, "so far so good." #ThisIsNotGoingToEndWell

Microsoft has been pretty vocal about the need to update Windows Server 2003. Snover, who is widely regarded by the Microsoft MVP community, is the latest of many in Redmond who are trying to be clear about the risks Microsoft says customers will face if they don't address the situation. In simple terms, there are still millions of Windows Server 2003-based systems in commission. After July 14, Microsoft will no longer issue security patches. That means those servers could become conduits to spread malware or other threats. I go much deeper into that in this month's Redmond magazine cover story.

Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows Server 2012 R2 or urges users to consider moving the applications impacted by the loss of support to the cloud, if that makes sense. According to a survey conducted last year by application remediation vendor AppZero, more than one third, or 36 percent, said there will be a cloud component to their upgrade process.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges to upgrading is it requires organizations to decommission the Windows Server 2003 Active Directory domain controllers and migrate the schema to the more current iteration of AD. MVP John O'Neill Sr., who has joined the roster of Redmond magazine contributors, aptly explains how to do so.

Do you have a plan in place? Will you migrate to Windows Server 2012 R2 or are you looking at a pure cloud-based deployment of your applications? Perhaps you're planning a hybrid architecture? Or maybe you simply don't agree with Snover's latest warning of the perils of doing nothing? Share what you're going to do about the pending end of support for Windows Server 2003.


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/02/2015 at 11:49 AM


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