Truth: Considering that Microsoft released more than 30 critical updates for Windows Server 2003 in 2013 alone, security issues will likely be a major risk for enterprises still running the 11-year-old server systems once Microsoft stops providing patches to fix potential vulnerabilities.
Benefits of migrating: Not having to worry about server security means the business can continue to run optimally without any downtime.
Common misconception: "Server migrations are just too expensive"
Truth: While upgrading servers can be an expensive affair, the fact is, holding out on the migration from Windows Server 2003 may cost more in the long run. In many instances, more resources have to put into supporting the outdated servers (for example, to purchase additional firewall or network segmentation) or finding workaround solutions. There is also the additional cost of regular audits required for running outdated software and these audits can be expensive. Customer support agreements which typically involve a 6- or 7-figure sum for an extension of support can only buy you a bit more time.
Benefits of migrating: Contrary to what most people think, migrating to the latest server OS can bring about more cost-savings in the longer term. In fact, a Forrester study showed that customers who have upgraded to the latest Windows Server 2012 R2 (from either Windows Server 2008 or 2012) estimates a six-month payback period and a 3-year risk adjusted return on investment (ROI) for a composite organization of 15,000 employees.
4. Competitive edge
Common misconception: "I don't need the latest features such as cloud for my business"
Truth: A decade-old operating system like the Windows Server 2003 is not created to support the mobile-first, cloud-first world of today. As such, it is unlikely to optimally support the latest business needs such as cloud deployment, mobility and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).
Benefits of migrating: The agility to be able to quickly deploy the latest features to meet the needs of your customers and users is what gives an organization the edge over its competitors.
Just like how most people dread visiting the dentist, there is no denying that server migrations can be a challenging and daunting undertaking for many organizations. But they are also opportunities for companies to reassess their server strategy to ensure that they continue to stay ahead of the competition.
Time is running out for CIOs to migrate to a modern cloud-optimized infrastructure. Given proper planning and the right tools (for instance, the AppZero software which can help to automate migration processes), the journey of upgrading from Windows Server 2003 can be both painless and beneficial for the company.
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