Many companies will miss Windows server deadline

my_tombstoneCompanies are doomed to miss the end of the life of Windows Windows Server 2003, warned software experts.

The server operating system will retire in six months and many companies will still have boxes running the OS when Microsoft finally kills it off.

David Mayer, the director of Microsoft Solutions for Insight said that companies had adopted an approach that “it is not broken so they did not need to fix it.  It was the first really mainstream server from Microsoft, a really solid OS, and gave Microsoft a lot of credibility in server software.”

Microsoft will end security updates for Server 2003 on July 14 which should end the product’s support lifecycle. It has been supported years longer than the usual decade.

But there are still millions of machines running Server 2003, with pockets of the software in most data centres and it is a significant effort to upgrade.  While getting rid of a dead XP laptop is not a problem, server replacement is tricky.

A server might contain unsupported software and the company that built them may be out of business or the in-house development team may have been disbanded.   Updating this software might be impossible.

Many of those applications are 32 bit and while Windows Server 2012 R2 offers a compatibility mode to run such applications it does not always work.

Microsoft  is likely to make a killing out of after-retirement support contracts, or “Custom Support,” to its largest customers. Under a Custom Support agreement, Microsoft provides patches only for the security vulnerabilities it has rated “critical,” its highest threat ranking.

This time Redmond is suggesting that its customers facing end of support to shift their servers to the cloud. However, that might be an additional change too far for many companies.