Microsoft has announced the EoS (End of Support) for Windows Server 2003. It’s likely that you have a few questions regarding exactly what this means for you and your organization. Aside from having to move to a new operating system, your infrastructure as a whole will include some changes you might not have considered.
After July 14, 2015, Microsoft will no longer be sending out updates for any version of the Windows Server 2003 operating system; consequently, we will have to migrate to a newer version of Windows Server or another service.
Upgrading to Windows Server 2012 R2 would be the obvious on-premises data center migration choice, however, it is not your only available option. Between Office 365 and Microsoft Azure cloud services, not only could you migrate applications and services onto a Platform as a Service (PaaS) where possible, you could also perhaps save your organization time and money by doing so.
Windows Server 2012 R2
Unlike Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2012 R2 is a virtualization and cloud-centric operating system, which may come in handy as you explore upgrading old 32-bit based server hardware to the required 64-bit architecture. The days in which we maintain a physical-only and on-premises infrastructure are slipping away in favor of a scalable and cheaper-to-maintain deployment.
Windows Server 2012 R2 includes Microsoft’s built in Hypervisor Hyper-V to help you make better utilization of the hardware in which your host operating system is running, which is especially important if your migration will require new hardware. Microsoft Hyper-V can help you limit the number of physical servers you’ll have to plan for by allowing you to run migrated services and applications on virtual machines.
As you explore your migration needs you may find that some of your workloads could be run without the hassle of managing the underlying operating system. The Azure environment offers two primary methods for you to migrate:
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
One of the easiest ways to do a machine-to-machine migration to Azure is simply to deploy a virtual machine in the Azure environment. With this method you will continue to manage the compute, storage and network capabilities of your system and manage the underlying operating system as you always have. The primary benefit comes in not having to manage the resource groups directly as you would with an on-premises virtualized data center.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS is the natively scalable and highly available form of workload cloud hosting. Whether you’re hosting an application, website or database this form of migration offers the most benefits to an organization in regard to decrease maintenance and high-availability planning along with geo redundant hosting. For instance, with Azure Database (PaaS SQL database hosting), there is a built-in ability a migration team can use to move their database over to the Azure environment.
Office 365 offers a unique and centrally maintained cloud-based access and management to your organization’s most popular Microsoft software. Most environments today can benefit from Office 365 for business with an ever-changing and growing BYOD policy. So your users have the potential to install full office on up to five devices (tablets and phones included) as well as work on their documents and access SharePoint or exchange from anywhere in the world, even while maintaining an Active Directory integrated identity access solution. Office 365 may also offer other benefits unexpectedly through your migration, such as unlimited HD quality IM and video conferences with Skype for Business and up to 1 TB of online file storage per user.
Succeed Through Change
Although support for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 is going to force millions of systems and a large number of companies to migrate, it also allows us a unique and unprecedented number of ways to do it. We can take this opportunity to expand our clients’ access to resources and applications to help drive business securely forward, and at the end of the day that’s what our job is all about.