End of the Road for Windows Server 2003

June 12th, 2015 Posted by Best Practices, Networks, Services 0 thoughts on “End of the Road for Windows Server 2003”

By: Alicia Hernandez, Think Technical Writer

Ladies and Gentleman, this is the final curtain call for Windows Server 2003. Microsoft announced a long time ago that July 14, 2015 will be the end of the road for Windows Server 2003.

Granted, it isn’t like at 12:00 A.M. on 07/14/2015 your WS2003 box will shut down, never to boot up again. But it does mean that Microsoft will no longer support WS2003. Here’s what this end of life date really means for you and your business if you are still on Windows Server 2003.

What this means to your business

When Microsoft stops “supporting” a product, in this case WS2003, it means they will no longer release any more patches and fixes. This includes those important security patches that help keep your [very vulnerable] Microsoft infrastructure [relatively] safe from viruses and hackers. Maybe this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to you and I, but unfortunately the Payment Card Industry does. If you are a merchant required to maintain PCI standards and compliance on this WS2003 box, you will officially be out of compliance on July 14, 2015, and “likely blocked by any partners or customers.”

If you haven’t started your migration planning, you really need to do so as soon as possible. Some tools have estimated an average of 200 days to migrate off of WS2003, mostly depending on the applications running on your server, where you want to migrate to (WS2008, WS2012, WS2016, etc.), and the problems that you will run into along the way. Common problems include 1) Kernel hooks, 2) 32-bit apps, 3) Obsolete/abandoned apps, and 4) 16-bit dependencies.

In the meantime, if there is absolutely no way you are able to migrate off of WS2003 before July 14, 2015, you should prepare for a costly extended maintenance plan. Microsoft might charge upwards of $600 per incident per server for updates/patches. And other third parties will be jumping on this money train to offer their own variety of extended support. So yes, you really need (and WANT) to get off of Windows Server 2003 ASAP!

For more answers to WS2003 end of life questions, ITworld put together this FAQ sheet for you.

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