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OMG 2003! So Much Noise

Let’s breathe and focus on what’s next

by Lane Shelton

There’s a lot of Windows Server 2003 out there, we get it. We see it first-hand working with customers doing deep-core licensing analysis because we have to know where all the VMs, clusters, and servers are to determine the best ways to pay for it all. We’ve all read the statistics, and our work with customers confirms it – Windows Server 2003 is still a workhorse, even in today’s modern data centers. The risks are obvious – just read any daily news digest to find another story about a major security breach. Breaches involve data and the data lives in data centers. So when Microsoft pulls the plug on W2003 Server in July of 2015, some of that data is going to be connected to unsupported server infrastructure.

And these days all of our data is under assault, at unprecedented intensity. The combination of unsupported servers and unrelenting threats adds up to a bad mix. So we need to do something about it, and best we get on with it as soon as possible. Thanks so much for the update, Captain Obvious! But what about the not so obvious? Read on where I cut through the noise about yet another farewell party.

Thanks for the Nudge W2003

Let’s be clear, I’m not belittling the risks – they are real, and they could have real, even painful consequences if not managed properly. But today I want to look at the Windows 2003 problem through a different lens – I want to help you look at this event as a transformative opportunity for our data centers. And I mean “our”, in fact PC Connection has W2003 and we are making our own plans.

W2003 is what’s now, but let’s focus for a moment on what comes next. It’s imperative that we do something, shift from our comfort zone, and find a new server happy place. And let’s do it right, the best we can, with what we know. Avoid the temptation to patch and plug, act purely on speeds and feeds. All those W2003 servers and VMs have to go somewhere, right? Should that be new kit running a new OS? Should we standardize on 2008 R2, or move up to 2012, or even 2012 R2? Wait a minute, should those workloads even be in our data center, or are they better suited for the cloud? Ok, then whose cloud? Our private cloud, a co-lo, a public cloud, or a hybrid? So much to consider. Here’s my advice, since W2003 is leaving the picture, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and ask all of those the questions. Which leads to an even bigger question: What should the next rev of my information infrastructure look like?

A Revolutionary Evolution- Stay Tuned

There are a bewildering array of new technologies and choices, all arriving at a blinding pace. Intel calls what is happening today the Third Industrial Revolution. Personally, I think of it as the Fourth: 1. Fire (this one didn’t make Intel’s list, but it all did start here), 2. Machinery, 3. Electricity, and now 4. Compute. Industrial Revolutions are chaotic, and there are no rules, no well-established best-practices to inform our every step. Amidst all the change, how do we know which technologies are the best bet? At PC Connection, that’s exactly where we are working our hardest – delivering tools, services and expertise to help our customers discern what’s next. Soon we will even roll out a new portal designed specifically to address Windows 2003 and next steps. We look forward to the changes and the challenges, and hope to be a valued partner as you build whatever comes next for you! Thanks for the push Microsoft, we’ll take the W2003 retirement and raise you a new improved data center.

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