End of support draws near for Windows Server 2003

An estimated 135k instances of Windows Server 2003 are still running in Australia as July deadline approaches

There are still around 135,000 virtual and physical servers in Australia still running Windows Server 2003 despite the looming July 14 cut-off date after which Microsoft will no longer support the operating system, according to figures from HP.

The end of security fixes will leave SMBs and enterprises that are still using the operating system vulnerable to attack, warned HP South Pacific enterprise group servers and converged systems director Raj Thakur.

“There will be no incident report and you could get penalised for having non-compliant software. You have software that is not supported and that’s a vicious cycle,” said Thakur.

Thakur acknowledged budget constraints could be holding some SMBs back from upgrading to Windows Server 2012.

“There are some great enhancements in the new version including performance and scale. There are also better recovery options and protection against outages,” he said.

“When it comes to budget constraints, our customers can have an arrangement where they don’t need to pay anything for 90 days,” he added.

For companies who haven't begun shifting to the new server OS, Microsoft Australia cloud and enterprise product manager Mike Heald said the Windows Server 2003 end of support website offered guidance for migrating.

"There is information about the services and tools available from assessment and training, through to comprehensive platform migration services and risk management," he said.

Microsoft's partners including Dell and HP have new hardware and service 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," said Heald.

In addition, he said there are tools such as AppZero software which can help to automate migration processes.

Heald said a "significant number" of companies in Australia are still running Windows Sever 2003.

"Once the deadline passes, those that remain on Windows Server 2003 will be presented with compliance challenges, as many regulatory bodies require organisations to run current operating systems," he said.

For example, in 2014, over 20 security vulnerabilities for Windows Server 2003 were detected and addressed. However, this type of threat detection and prevention will not continue after the end of support.

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