Every few years Microsoft stops supporting versions of their Operating System software, news headlines start circulating warning users about the discontinue support telling them to upgrade the OS but what does it really mean for a small business who’s been running on Windows Server 2003 for the past 10 or 15 years?
Let’s demystify the End of life support news:
For starters every software product in the market is designed with an end-of-life support in mind. Whether published or not during software release software companies have an application road map that outlines when the new version will be made available in the market. During this process between new releases software companies keep making improvements to their product and fixing unforeseen issues by releasing software updates, patches, and hot fixes when vulnerabilities or bugs are discovered and during the regular maintenance cycle. While there’s a team maintaining the current version of the software there’s another team of engineers working on the software and incorporating the fixes found the previous version, as times goes by the new software is announce and release to the market.
There may be a period of time when both releases of the software are actively supported and maintained but after some time (determined by the software company) support for the old version is stopped. What it really means is that the software company will not invest more time, technical and human resources into fixing their software against the new vulnerabilities and bugs that may be discovered after the end of life. Also, any technical support contract for that product will cease at the end of the support life.
Something you need to be clear is that even though the product comes to an end of life support you can still continuing using the software as usual. For instance, in the case of Windows Server 2003 It is not as if a magic plug will be disconnected and your Windows Server will immediately turn off after July 14th. What will happen is that Microsoft will not continue maintaining the software, no more updates, patches, hot fixes, and if you call them for support on Windows Server 2003 they will not offer assistance.
Not only will Microsoft stop supporting Windows Server 2003 but also application manufacturers most likely will also end support for applications designed to run on the OS, meaning the application will not have more updates, patches, or hot fixes to make their compatible with Windows Server 2003 anymore. Let’s say you have a Windows 2k3 Server where you run some business applications. For the past years Microsoft released updates for the OS and the application company released updates for their products. Once there are no more OS updates applications will be forced to stop supporting their products at one point because the platform (the OS) where they run on will not be “stable” any longer thus creating an environment for possible vulnerabilities the application does not want to be a part of.
As I mentioned earlier, you can still run as usual but there will be a cloud of uncertainty over your head because of the outdated software. The system inherently will becomes vulnerable, this is a risk that some business can weather but it’s inconceivable to others, another point to consider is that if you been running Windows 2k3 you are missing out of great improvements to the OS. Also, the hardware (server) you are running on may be old by now posing another risk to your environment of a system failure.
Yes, you can continue using Windows Server 2003 after July 14th 2015 but benefits or upgrading the Hardware and Software far exceed the reasons of staying on the old platform. JDTechSolutions has been helping small organizations migrate to Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2012 operating systems to ensure business security and continuity in the organization. We help with the planning, engineering, migration, and administration. Our services and solutions are designed for to help Small Businesses maximize their technical return of investment.
Contact us for a Consultation our Windows Server support solutions or any other of our technical services at 888-580-4450