Extended support has already ended for Windows Server 2003, which means that you should have already migrated. If this is not the case, you need to start the wheels moving.

Support for Standard, Enterprise and Data Centre (32-bit and 64-bit) is over, so there will be no further security patches for system vulnerabilities or operational issues and third party products will no longer be supported. Of course, there is the option to pay Microsoft a significant sum for Extended Support, which we would recommend that you avoid. Your key migration choices are Windows Server 2012 R2 or Microsoft Azure (or another cloud based platform). Office 365 would be a popular choice for your Office apps too.

Use Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 Migration Planning Assistant to guide yourself through the four major steps:

  • Discover: Learn what to expect and how to do something about it. Reading this blog is a good start. The official page will include more detailed information. Larger companies might think about drawing up a business case to justify the cost of migration.
  • Assess: Consider the role which Windows Server 2003 plays in your IT infrastructure. List the Windows Server 2003 licenses in use, the hardware they run on, who relies upon them, and the applications which they run. Add a value to each one if there are many; you’ll want to prioritise the most important workloads, systems and applications. A Windows 2003 Server can be a file server, a terminal-services server, a Web server, or application server. Make sure you understand which software it is running, where this server fits with your active directory, and how you’ll recreate that active directory after migration. You’ll need to know any inter-dependencies and the supportability of your apps on the latest Microsoft OS.
  • Target: Now you’ll need to plan out where you’re going to migrate your Windows Server 2003 applications. You can use Windows Server 2012 R2 – either with new server hardware or virtualised – or relocate to the cloud using Azure and/or Office 365. Some may need to be decommissioned, or rewritten entirely.
  • Migrate: Replace Windows Server 2003 with one of the options mentioned above. The planning should already have been done, but a more complex existing infrastructure will typically make things a lot trickier. You’ll need to draw up a plan for each server and application.

Server migrations are rarely either easy or straightforward, and could take a significant amount of time depending upon the complexity of your infrastructure. If you don’t feel 100% confident in the ability of you or your staff to handle the situation, don’t hesitate to contact a professional.