Microsoft New Zealand has again reminded its Kiwi customers that time is running out for organisations still running Windows Server 2003, with less than 100 days to the end of support deadline on 14 July 2015.
According to Spiceworks, a global professional network of more than 5 million IT professionals, 61 percent of organisations that use Spiceworks’ tools in New Zealand are still running at least one instance of Windows Server 2003 as of March 2015, representing a 5 percent percentage point drop in usage since June 2014.
Frazer Scott, Marketing and Operations Director for Microsoft NZ, says for Kiwi companies still using Windows Server 2003 after the end of support deadline, these servers will be particularly vulnerable as no new security patches will be made available.
“It can typically take around 200 days to make a typical server migration, so with just 100 days left before the deadline, this is especially critical, given the fast-paced evolution of security threats,” he says.
“In fact, since January 2014, 47 new vulnerabilities were identified on Windows Server 2003 according to a report by Secunia, a global player in software vulnerability management.”
According to Scott, demands in New Zealand, and the wider world, have “changed dramatically” since the launch of Windows Server 2003 more than 11 years ago.
So much so that IT leaders across all industries are now managing an infrastructure that demands support for cloud, mobility, social and data-intensive applications.
“The increasing security and privacy threats are pressuring businesses of all sizes to transform in this new mobile-first, cloud-first world – all of which cannot be met with old technology platforms,” Scott adds.
With the end of support deadline looming, Scott says that this is already an extended date and is based on Microsoft’s standard lifecycle support policies.
“Microsoft NZ has been communicating with our customers about the impending deadline for Windows Server 2003 end-of-support for a long time, and working with our partners to educate users about the process of migration,” he says.
“If they have not already, IT leaders and business owners need to move quickly to protect the applications and information residing on old servers.
“The July deadline represents an opportunity to future-proof your business and realise the benefits of moving to modern platforms like Windows Server 2012.”
For Scott, Kiwi customers now have more “cost effective choices” than ever before which include on premise infrastructure, a hybrid approach or to go completely to the cloud, depending on needs and budget.
“An example of a hybrid scenario is leveraging Microsoft Azure for cloud based backup,” he explains. “This is far simpler with a version of Windows Server that is more recent than 2003.
“Choosing to modernise rather than to operate as they did in the past will enable them to align better with future business growth strategies while providing adequate security and compliance measures for today.”
Consequently, Scott says companies looking to migrate can also refer to Microsoft resources, including:
• Windows Server 2003 end of support website which provides customers with guidance for the entire migration process along with information about the services and tools available from assessment and training, through to comprehensive platform migration services and risk management.
• A Migration Planning Assistant is also available to help organisations analyse their Windows Server 2003 workloads and generate a summary report showing recommendations and Microsoft partner offerings.
• Many Microsoft NZ partners already have new services in place to help expedite the migration process. Larger enterprise customers who may need more time to finish migration may also explore custom support agreements with Microsoft during their transition period.