Are You Ready for Windows Server 2003 End of Services

10/22/14 10:58 AM Jim Walsh

Are You Still Running Microsoft 2003?

Yes?  If you are, then 3/4ths of you already know that Microsoft will end support for Windows 2003 servers in July of 2015.  Microsoft will no longer issue security patches and if you choose to still run Exchange 2003 you face the threat of your company running into some serious security risks and unplanned downtime that could sink unprepared small businesses. Exchange 2003 is just out of date, it was implemented before both mobile and cloud computing really took off, and it is now time to upgrade.

Time to Upgrade

Most of you know the importance of the upgrade, and plan to do so withhin the next 18 months. But the question is how to go about it, without encountering some serious issues. You have to plan for quirks and questions that may arise, slow network connections, misconfigured firewalls and legal and compliance policies. One instance a lot of companies have been running into is their inability to upgrade to Exchange 2013 straight from 2003 because Microsoft never created a path for it. Bill Pray, research VP at Gartner recommends upgrading to Exchange 2010 first.

“For most organizations in this situation, that means migrating to Exchange 2010 and then stopping -- putting off a migration to Exchange 2013 until sometime in the future.”



An easy way to avoid these situations is to go the route of a technology assessment. Assessments ensure that the migration will support and foster their business to the best of its abilities. Whether you are fixing a problem or evaluating the implementation of new technology, changes to your new technology environment can be more impactful if you have a clear understanding of your IT operations and processes.

One recommendation when upgrading from Exchange 2003 is to migrate to Office 365. Office 365 is the same Office you already know with cloud versions of Exchange 2010, Sharepoint 2010, Office Professional and Microsoft Lync Server. With Microsoft encouraging all organization to begin migrating to the cloud it makes sense that they enable you to access your files and data from virtually anywhere, with any device, including PC's, Macs, tablets and mobile devices. As you can see in the chart below it is estimated that $6.1 Billion dollars is expected to be spent on migrating people from Exchange 2003 to a private cloud foundation. Moving to the cloud will eliminate downtime risk, keep costs low and deliver a reliable, secure and integrated cloud environment. A great step by step tutorial, written by Kelsey Epps, a Technical consultant at Concepps Group and Hewlett Packard, illustrates the best ways to migrate Exchange 2003 to Office 365 .