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Windows Server 2003 End of Support: Migrating to the Cloud

13 Nov 2014 by Insight Editor

By Jessica Hall, Insight Blog Contributing Writer

Though still months away, many are talking about the end of support for Microsoft Server 2003. Microsoft estimates that there are nearly 24 million instances of Windows Server 2003 globally. At the risk of increased management and costs when Microsoft ends its support for the server on July 14, 2015, businesses across the globe will need to take action. Many organizations are planning their actions by considering options for migration. Some will upgrade hardware, but many are pausing to consider which workloads make sense to move to Cloud.

Cloud is appealing, but still misunderstood.  If ultimately, an organization pursues Cloud – in part or in whole — there are a few things to consider and do before executing the move.

It’s all about compatibility & planning.

“If you’re looking at a Cloud architecture, look at application design to see if you can take advantage of it,” says Jeromy Siebenaler, vice president and chief cloud architect at Insight. Ensure that all applications will work and won’t cause any organizational disruptions. While many look to Cloud for consistency in service, understanding the application ecosystem and it’s compatibility in a Cloud environment is key to success.

Not every application will run itself well in a Cloud-based scenario; you need to coordinate and plan. David Mayer, practice director of Microsoft solutions at Insight, adds, “It’s not a ‘lift and shift,’ as they say.”

Mayer continues, “Servers talk to each other, and you have to move them all at the same time; otherwise, you’ll break their connection.” It’s imperative to understand how all applications work with each other, as you’ll also need to move them together, and move them on a timeline that won’t disrupt the organization.

Consider increased protection and better performance.

“Once you dig into it, the Cloud isn’t much different from the physical options,” Siebenaler points out. He adds that you simply need to be aware of how data is accessed.

With enhanced architecture, servers and applications experience less delay and offer improved availability. Scalability around virtualization is much greater, too – users can access a terabyte of memory virtually.

If you’re looking for flexibility and adaptability, consider Microsoft Azure  as a viable option for your organization. It enables you to scale applications to any size and developers can use any language, framework or tool to build applications. Delivering a 99.95% monthly SLA allows teams to focus on highly accessible applications without obsessing over the infrastructure.

Ensure the provider is compliant and secure.

Selecting a reliable and trustworthy provider is paramount. “Many companies are processing very important and often confidential information, so security – in the sense of trusting the provider, as it’s not a question of if it’s technically more secure – is a fundamental consideration,” says Mayer.

This is particularly true for organizations that need to follow certain regulations, such as being FERPA, HIPAA or PCI compliant. In these instances it’s imperative to understand the  architecture and ensure that it is, in fact, compliant.

Making the move to Cloud is a big decision at any time, doing so on a deadline – like the end of support for Windows Server 2003 – can compound the pressure without the right support.

For a closer look at what the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 End of Support means and for tips on how to start planning your migration, watch this video.