LA Distributors: Are You Prepared for Windows Server 2003 End of Life?

Craig Pollack | Jun 18, 2015

LA Distributors Are You Prepared for Windows Server 2003 End of LifeIs it reasonable to assume you’ve heard about Windows Server 2003 End of Life? This major Microsoft product will no longer be supported after July 14, 2015. How will this affect your Los Angeles distribution company?

Even with as many as 11 million machines having run Windows Server 2003 at some point, press coverage of this critical change has been significantly less than for the end of support for Windows XP a year ago.

As a reminder, here is why it is so important to prepare for Windows Server 2003 End of Life.

  • Security. Unpatched, unsupported systems lead to security holes exploited by attackers.
  • Reliability. Even if it’s broken, it won’t be fixed after July 14, 2015.
  • Performance. New hardware and old software are likely to be increasingly incompatible.
  • Compliance. Windows Server 2003 systems will no longer conform to certain key regulations.
  • Cost. $200,000 for custom support to keep the 2003 version going is too steep a price for most.

How to Migrate from Windows Server 2003

As you cannot (reasonably) stay with this product, where can you go? And how should you get there? Microsoft has developed some resources to help customers plan and execute their migrations. The Microsoft game plan for handling Windows Server 2003 End of Life is laid out in four stages:

  1. Discover. Find out how many instances of Windows Server 2003 are running in your company. Watch out for systems outside your central IT organization, like the shipping department’s pet logistics application they insisted on running in their office. Catalog all the applications and workloads running on each server.
  2. Assess. Evaluate applications and workloads by type, importance, and degree of complexity. For the last two categories, use a high-medium-low rating to get started. Dive into more detail if required. Remember, importance is about the impact on your business, not about how much main memory the application uses.
  3. Target. Microsoft suggests a range of up-to-date options that are naturally enough also Microsoft’s own solutions. They are Windows Server 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014, System Center 2012 R2 (Private Cloud), Microsoft Azure (Public Cloud), and Office 365. Other solutions are available too, including cloud applications from other providers.
  4. Migrate. Make your migration plan, using your staff, resources from a third party, or a mix of both. Migrations may take three months or more. If you haven’t yet started, now is the time – better late than never!

Resources to Aid Migration

Microsoft has put some sugar-coating on the end of its support. The company offers:

  • Microsoft Virtual Academy with self-study resources for moving to Windows Server 2012 R2 or the Microsoft Azure public cloud.
  • Microsoft Deployment Toolkit containing tools and guidance for efficiently installing desktop and server environments.
  • Free software trials for the Microsoft solutions in the “Target” section above.

Some migrations may, however, be complicated with crisscrossing user applications and system incompatibilities to be ironed out. Expert help from a professional IT services provider may save time, money, and effort overall.

More Migration for SQL Server 2005 Too

Many Windows Server 2003 installations have also been running Microsoft’s SQL Server 2005. Los Angeles distributors use this kind of database application to hold customer and reseller records, product catalog data, and payment and accounting records.

Like Windows Server 2003 End of Life, SQL Server 2005 will also stop – a little later, on April 12, 2016. However, Microsoft recommends considering migrating from both at the same time (for example, to SQL Server 2014 in the case of SQL Server 2005.)


Are you still thinking about how to handle end of life for your Windows Server 2003 installations? Tell us about it in the section for Comments below.


If you’d like to learn more about how FPA Technology Services can assist you with your migration, set up your complimentary consultation today.


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Craig Pollack

Craig Pollack

Craig is the Founder & CEO of FPA Technology Services, Inc. Craig provides the strategy and direction for FPA, ensuring its clients, business owners, and key decision makers leverage technology as efficiently and effectively as possible. With over 25 years of experience building the preeminent IT Service Provider in the Southern California area, Craig is one of the area’s leading authorities on how small to mid-sized businesses can best secure and leverage their technology to achieve their business objectives.