You can’t ignore Windows Server 2003 end of life, as Cobweb explains. But is this an opportunity to buck the trend of a conventional hardware update and make the cultural leap to a cloud based solution?
Windows Server 2003 end of life on July 14 2015 is the end of an era.
Although that doesn’t leave much time before the withdrawal of all support, Microsoft’s decision to pull the plug should be viewed as an opportunity to evolve and improve your company’s IT infrastructure.
A surprising number of companies are still getting to grips with the cloud concept and the dilemma of making the switch or keeping things as they are, on premises.
But if transitioning to the cloud is as much about a cultural change as it is about productivity, there are clear business advantages too as this quick comparison shows:
With the average business’s cyber-defences being compromised once every four days, data security must be a priority. The issue is even more pressing when considering how little protection those running Windows Server 2003 will have after the cut-off date.
Duncan Brown, cyber-security research director at analyst firm Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC), explains: “Today's cloud-based security capability embeds state-of-the-art cyber and physical security that most companies would find prohibitively expensive if implemented on-premises."
You only pay for the storage that your company actually uses. At the same time you are not constrained by hard drive size and there are no limits to potential storage either. Your company can choose between off and on-premises solutions, or a mixture of the two.
Because storage availability and data protection are intrinsic to cloud architecture the additional technology and effort required to add storage, along with everyday maintenance, is offset to your cloud supplier.
On-premises investments are essentially all or nothing. You choose the investment that fits your needs over coming years.
If business slows, you’re left with a system that isn’t being used to its full potential, plus a sizable hole in your IT budget. When it starts picking up, there will be a point when the system cannot cope and will need to be upgraded or replaced.
Now innovative pricing models mean the cloud is much more versatile. Whichever hosted solutions you adopt, charges are based on how much you use them. Result? Services can be implemented and dropped as and when they’re needed.
With the cloud, businesses can obtain as much processing power as they need, without having to invest large sums in high-end hardware.
Once investments are reduced, companies can try new approaches and harness the full power of enterprise applications; Office 365 and Skype for Business included. You could combine hosted and on-premises systems to create a powerful hybrid solution.
Finding a Cloud Partner
Focus on prospective suppliers’ histories, the levels of support they offer and up-time levels. The Service Level Agreement (SLA) should help with this; reputable providers should have theirs readily available.
Proximity will also be a key deciding factor, for convenience and legislative reasons.
Ash Patel, Director of Business Transformation at Cobweb Solutions, sums up the opportunity:
“Taking decisive action is business critical, but this shouldn’t be see as just another ‘tick in the box’ upgrade exercise. It is a great opportunity to review your IT infrastructure and look at how the compelling benefits of the cloud can improve the way a business operates. With automatic updates you can also say goodbye to end of life issues.”
Your Questions Answered
Migration from Windows Server 2003 is imperative and it doesn’t have to be difficult. But you need to move quickly before all support is withdrawn on July 14.