Windows 2003 End of Life and the Microsoft Hybrid Cloud

Posted by ewilliamson on July 7, 2015

As everyone is surely aware by now, Windows 2003 finally comes to the end of its long, supported life on 15 July 2015. The foundation of many modern Windows networks and a giant leap forward for Microsoft in the server space from the NT4 and Windows 2000 days, the venerable OS is finally being put out to pasture. Many in the IT industry will be saying ‘and not soon enough too’, but what do you do with your existing workloads on Windows 2003?

Migration can be a headache. There’s no side-by-side install, nor is there a particularly nice upgrade path – especially if you’re running the 32-bit version. The apps you rely on for day-to-day business operation may not be compatible. You may suddenly start to see this as a very complicated – not to mention costly – upgrade.
Microsoft’s Hybrid Cloud offerings are designed to help reduce this headache. Leveraging Windows Server 2012 R2, Azure, Hyper-V and System Center you can transform your datacentre, rationalise hardware and leverage the power and scale of the public cloud. Get improved performance, reduced maintenance requirements and increased business agility.

As for email, you might still be running Exchange 2003 or 2007. If so, it’s definitely time to upgrade. Office 365 gives you rock-solid reliability, access from everywhere, built-in anti-spam and anti-malware agents along with message categorisation, data loss protection and rights management features. Plus for each licensed user you get a full, always-updated version of Office for desktop, mobile and tablet devices; and Skype for Business, OneDrive for Business, a fully-featured SharePoint Online collection and access to Yammer for enterprise collaboration. You get all these features – meeting the standards of EU privacy law – without the headache of trying to manage and maintain your own Exchange server environment.

So although the end of Windows 2003 might give you a short-term headache, in the long run it opens the doors to a whole range of possibilities to run a modern, cloud-enabled infrastructure.

CDW’s Microsoft Gold Partner status, with competencies in Cloud Platform and Data Center (amongst others) reflects our team’s experience delivering cloud and infrastructure transformation projects. Whatever your requirements, CDW’s team of experienced Microsoft Solutions Architects and Consultants are there to help you move your business forward.

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Author: Rob Whitehouse, Practice Lead, Cloud and Infrastructure

Rob is the Practice Lead for CDW’s Cloud and Infrastructure consultancy team with over eighteen years commercial experience designing and implementing IT systems for SMBs, service providers and high volume web properties. He currently specialises in Azure and Office 365 solutions for CDW’s customers across a variety of verticals including healthcare, construction, media and finance.

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