3 months. No reprieve.

Microsoft executives and media spokespeople are out in force, emphasizing that Windows Server 2003 is headed out to pasture, with end of life (EOL) slated for July 14, 2015 (Yes, THIS July 14). With EOL, Microsoft ceases providing updates, service patches, and support for between an estimated 1 and 12 million servers worldwide.

So, if you’re still facing this challenge, you are clearly not alone. This one’s not just a simple update, as infrastructure that supported Windows Server 2003 (WS2003) can’t handle what’s now needed: Windows Server 2012 R2 (WS2012 R2).

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Aside from appalling grammarians everywhere, this feeling is easy to understand. Most users don’t have visibility to the full brokenness of older operating systems. After all:

  • The applications that the old systems have been running for over a decade (!) now still run.
  • The systems have been that solid for that long, so support or updates shouldn’t be needed because you know they work and are used to their quirks.
  • Besides, upgrading can break things and will surely make them different.
  • With expensive hardware required, this is a messy and costly proposition.

Assuming that most of us haven’t been using the same toothbrush for a decade, and that we don’t expect the same showroom performance out of a 10 year old car, it’s time to face this one head on.

Why change then?

Servers don’t exist in a vacuum. They provide essential services that need to stay up and running. Failing to stay current opens businesses up to serious vulnerabilities:

  • Productivity. Crashes, system downtime, and wasted personnel resources all drain energy from business tasks as you waste time fixing IT issues and patching workarounds. This costs in time and in money. It costs nearly double to fix systems that are over 4 years old.
  • Security. Starting July 15, no new updates or patches means no fixes to newly found security threats. No change means risking the availability of services, the confidentiality of data, and the privacy of customers’ data.
  • Compliance. Most industries have legal compliance requirements in meeting current technical standards, and customers themselves have compliance and regulatory demands included in contractual service level agreements (SLAs). Being out of compliance breaks the SLAs, resulting in fines or loss of business. Accepting credit card payments? Without updates, Visa and MasterCard are on the record that they’ll have to refuse business due to lack of PCI (Payment Cards Industry) compliance.
  • Support. Most hosting companies and technology professionals will be unable to continue to support WS2003 systems. No updates means that they won’t be able to meet their own SLA requirements.
  • Competition. Competitors using new technology are at an advantage. What is out of date? If your operating system is over 5 years old, 61% of your customers say you’re outdated! Moving on to the newest platform will let you more quickly add new systems, set up new users, allow for remote operation, faster response times, etc., bringing a better service to internal users and to customers. The newer platform (WS2012 R2) offers a streamlined and efficient approach for remote accessibility, more options for storage and automation, and greater security.

What now?

IT professionals know the problem and don’t really need convincing. Time being short, it’s time now to push through organizational inertia to get moving.

Since it’s not advisable to cross your fingers and hope for the best with WS2003, migration is the answer with two choices of destination:

  • New assets. Invest in new replacement hardware and software for your infrastructure.
  • Take it to the cloud. Take this time where migration is required anyway and move your infrastructure to a hosted solution. Divest yourself from taking on the cost of owning the assets or the headaches of managing them.

Why are we here?

DataYard’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides a cloud solution that’s still close to home and managed by those you’ve come to trust. We understand that the ultimate connection for the technology we maintain are the people relying upon it. We give you people you can rely on to get the job done. Take it to the cloud without sacrificing control.

Our mission at DataYard is simple. We want our customers to focus on their businesses while we serve as trusted technology partners, keeping essential technology infrastructure stable, reliable, secure and redundant. Mission critical applications and data need to be available and error-free so that, like electricity, you forget about it and just run your business.

If you’re facing the migration from Windows Server 2003, you want experts on your side. 90 days is not too late to start. A review of migration stories across the web shows many successful and fairly complex migrations were actually achieved in 60-90 days. In fact, most migrations took two to three times as long to go through the approval process (“Do we have to?”) than through the actual planning and execution of the migration.

DataYard has scalable cloud options that get you out of the hardware business, while keeping your operations secure and local with people you know and trust. No solution is canned and out of the box. We’ll sit down with you to see where you are and where you need to be. Then we find you the best path to get there.

Get current now, and then stay current as technology continues to evolve. Staying with our hosted solutions will keep you current moving forward. As updates and newer platforms are released, we’ll be with you on that path together.

Each DataYard solution is tailored to fit your needs exactly, including making sure you have the level of management control over your own system that you need. Give us a call and let us help you make the best decisions you can for your business.

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