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Time to Move On: Windows 2003 EOS

Why Not Make it an Educated Move?

By now everyone should know that Windows Server 2003 is reaching the end of support later this year. Just like the end of Windows XP, the 2003 end of support is a seismic event for Microsoft and their customers. But just how big of an event, well, that remains to be seen. In fact, when we first began talking to our customers about it, we took a very traditional approach: Identify 2003 servers, measure them and figure out how to migrate them to a new OS—whether it was 2008 R2, 2012, or even 2012 R2. Next…find them, remediate them, and replace them, done.

But as our discussions deepened, we realized that the 2003 end-of-support event was opening up new opportunities. Yes, it’s true, when one door closes another one opens. It forced us to look at alternatives to the traditional find-and-replace methods. A rush of ethical obligation came over us to make the best of another unnerving situation. We want the best for our customers and here’s what we discovered.

New compute pathways, particularly the many varieties of cloud solutions out there, present new and potentially better alternatives for the workloads and applications behind the server OS. So what, you say? Well, they make data more accessible to end-users, make data more secure, reduce costs, and pretty much offer everything today’s shops are looking for in IT delivery. And when you start looking at multiple workloads and what to do with them, “poof,” a new vision for the next iteration of the data center materializes.

It’s not really magical; we can’t wave our IT wand and create one answer, one vision. Every customer is different, and especially in the data center there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. For example, traditional physical boxes and/or VMs running workloads on a new OS may be the best answer. Or maybe there are gains to be had with elements of private cloud solutions opened up by Windows 2012 R2. Maybe elements of a public cloud solution, of which there are many, are perfect for a specific workload or set of workloads. Maybe this, maybe that, maybe you should think twice about a ready-made solution.

Here’s the takeaway, anyone who says “X is the right answer for every question” is not looking deep enough at what a customer is trying to accomplish. Please don’t be fooled by anyone’s wand. The complexity of each unique environment does not lend itself to a simple conversation—but at the same time that conversation has to start somewhere. You don’t describe the qualities of a sofa with particle physics and string theory explaining how a sofa can exist in multiple dimensions simultaneously! You start by talking about sofas. That’s what we are great at, not sofas, but removing the complexity out of complex situations. Creating simplified discussions that eventually unravel every thread in the convoluted IT davenport.

This video is the starting point—we’ve done our best to encapsulate the discussion about what-comes-after Windows 2003 into a manageable framework. Our goal is to find the best pathway for 2003 workloads based on your desired business outcomes. Don’t worry; there are many good choices. The key is to identify what you want to accomplish, and how best to get you there. To that end, we’ve also developed a tool to make suggestions on what technologies may be the best fit for specific workloads, or even a combination of workloads.

Check out our video, and most importantly use the tool as a starting point for deeper discussions with our experts—we’re here to help you get there from beginning to end. We get the complexity, and turning complexity into clarity and control is what we live for! That, and the multi-dimensional sofas which will be all the rage next Christmas—at least in some dimensions.

With the end of support date for Windows Server 2003 fast approaching, there's never been a better time to plan your data center transformation. Our experts have designed this helpful tool to get you started on the right upgrade path for your unique environment, applications, and workloads.

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