This article has been updated since the deadline has now passed.
On 14th July 2015 Microsoft ended support for Windows Server 2003. If you are still using WS2003, then doing nothing is simply not a viable option. Find out what this means for your business, and the different options you need to consider.
What does this mean for your business?
As of 14th July, Microsoft is no longer issuing security updates for any version of Windows Server 2003, making it much more vulnerable to attacks.
Research conducted by the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) in February 2015 revealed that 58% of organisations reported running Windows Server 2003. The forum believes that in the UK alone, an average of 1000 servers per day are likely to need to be transitioned in the final year of support.
If you are still running Windows Server 2003 in your organisation, then you need to take steps now. The infrastructure and security of your business are vital and continuing to use an unsupported platform will put your organisation at unnecessary risk.
A boost for the cloud industry?
CIF predicts the end of support for Windows Server 2003 will boost the already booming cloud industry in the UK. As businesses seek alternative options and faster internet is becoming more prevalent, many are deciding that it is time to take the plunge with cloud-based software.
CIF CEO Alex Hilton had the following to say:
“In the period leading up to July 2015 the market faces the most significant IT refresh of the 21st century to date with the end of support of both Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Small Business Server 2003. These products have not only underpinned the IT server market for the last decade they have been the basis upon which many local IT providers have built their businesses.
Some customers will take the opportunity to move the server workloads to cloud services, some will undertake a rudimentary incremental upgrade and others will take the opportunity to refine their IT strategy. The next 12 months represent a great opportunity for customers to make a cloud migration and adopt the latest enterprise ready technology at a fraction of the price.”
What are your options?
You could decide to stick with an on-premise IT infrastructure and migrate to Windows Server 2012 R2.
However, you may decide to use this opportunity to try something new. You may be considering moving to the cloud due to the benefits of streamlined business processes, increased flexibility, and anytime anywhere access. (UK cloud adoption now stands at 84%).
If your business is developing its strategy for implementing a cloud computing solution, you need to decide what is right for your business. Is it public cloud, private cloud or a combination of the two – hybrid cloud? Our related article The differences between public, private and hybrid cloud should help with this.
And if you have made the decision to move to the cloud, then there is the choice between hosted cloud and ‘true’ cloud software. Below we explain some of the differences between the two.
Beware of ‘fake’ clouds
‘The cloud’ has become an umbrella term used to describe any software that is delivered via the internet, but just because a solution is utilising cloud technology, this doesn’t mean it is what we would describe as ‘true cloud’.
True cloud solutions…
- Are designed and built for the age of the internet; they are accessed via, and work seamlessly on, all browsers and devices
- Are built to cope with large numbers of users with no drop-off in performance
- Are multi-tenanted; which means resources, such as processing power and memory, are shared across many users which spreads the cost and delivers a high level of performance
- Are more flexible and scalable than hosted solutions
Hosted cloud solutions…
- Were typically designed to be on-premise, but have been reworked to be delivered online
- Can be difficult to upgrade and scale – companies can suffer from ‘version-lock’ and be limited to a certain number of users
- Are typically ‘single tenancy’, which means they may be vulnerable to downtime and struggle to cope with periods of high demand
- Are not as flexible or customisable as true cloud solutions
Why should you consider a ‘true’ cloud solution?
Here are 12 of the benefits of opting for a ‘true’ cloud solution:
- Continue working anywhere, anytime on any device
- No upfront investment in new servers or related hardware
- No hosting costs
- No server to maintain so no unforeseen future cost to the business
- No more upfront investment in software licenses that you might not need straight away
- The subscription-based pricing is predictable and ideal for budgeting
- Flexible and customisable – tailor it specifically to your business needs
- Scalable – add more users or functionality as and when required, without server or hosted server re-architecture
- Easier collaboration between different locations or departments – everyone works on the same documents
- Always up-to-date software – as part of your subscription, all updates and security patches are applied automatically
- No hidden upgrade costs
- Keep your data secure – reputable cloud providers have the time and resources to make sure your data is protected by the best defences in the industry. (This is a topic we have covered in a previous blog post “Some common concerns about adopting cloud computing”.)