So as of yesterday the 14th July TWO-THIRDS of businesses in Ireland and the UK had started the day with an obsolete product. Windows Server 2003 hits its long anticipated end of life. It was estimated in March that up to 70 percent of companies in the UK were still running Windows Server 2003, and most have missed the deadline of 14 July 2015 (Derry and the NW is no exception!). A lot of us who have been managing windows networks over the last decade have become extremely familiar with this software but realise it is just no longer up to the job should businesses want to take advantage of new virtual and cloud based environments and applications.
Just as happened with Windows XP in April 2014, Microsoft will cease to support the ageing server from the cutoff date. That means no more security updates, leaving businesses vulnerable to all sorts of nasties that can infect their entire network.
Apart from the lack of support, one of the main reasons why organisations would want to change the software and underlying hardware would be that Windows Server 2003 was not designed to run or effectively integrate with today’s generation of applications, or to support greater mobility and cloud access. If a company wants to run components in the cloud or enhance connectivity with suppliers and customers, additional workarounds are required.
However, often the problem isn't convincing the IT manager, as that's simply preaching to the converted. It's convincing the managers and board who may not see the dangers, and feel that they are being asked to upgrade systems at great cost when the existing infrastructure isn't actually broken. Yet.
Doomsayers were wrong about the Y2K Bug, and again about XP. But the problems are very real. Knocking out a whole network, and potentially a whole business, is a much bigger deal than simply knocking out a single machine. And who is going to get it in the neck? It'll be the IT manager who says: 'I told you so.'