During Day 2 of the Worldwide Partner Conference going on now in Washington D.C., Microsoft was eager to remind partners that Windows Server 2003's end-of-life is only a year away. Similar to what happened with Windows XP in April of this year, as of July 2015 Microsoft will no longer support the aging Server OS with security updates (outside of extended support contracts from large enterprises). For Microsoft's SMB channel, the sun-setting of Server 2003 is a big opportunity to either move customers to Windows Server 2012 R2 or into an Azure hosted solution. Either way, there is a lot of legacy infrastructure out there that many SMBs will need help migrating.
For its part, Microsoft has teamed up with two of the largest server OEMs to provide support, tools, and guidance to help channel partners migrate customers. HP and Microsoft have developed a "complete portfolio of IT product solutions, industry-leading services, support, training, and financing that provide best-in-class solutions for customers as they transform and expand their business environments."
According to Microsoft, 94 percent of companies currently using Windows Server 2003 intend to migrate their applications to a newer version of Windows Server, as well as Microsoft Azure. As they transition, companies must address specific pain points, including assessing their current needs and future demands, finding the proper solutions for legacy applications, and identifying which workloads can be moved to the cloud.
Dell Services is looking to get in on the action with its new Windows Server 2003 Migration Service, which enables buisnesses to move workloads to Azure or Windows Server 2012 R2 ahead of the support deadline. It is designed to assist customers in all stages of their Windows Server migration process to meet the 2015 deadline, while ensuring all necessary checkpoints on their migration list are addressed.
Microsoft estimates that server migration will take at least 200 days, and application migration may take upwards of 300 days. In other words, even though a year seems a long way off, it really isn't. It's time to start talking with your customers and get working on a plan sooner than later.