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Windows Server 2003 end of support offers channel Microsoft Cloud opportunity

Brian Karlovsky | April 7, 2015
Sentiment shifts in favour of Cloud following Microsoft Australian Geo launch: Microsoft Australia director of partner business development, Phil Goldie.

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 customers have just 100 days to upgrade their last instances of the product before support is pulled.

On July 14 Microsoft will no longer provide patches or support for the product and customers risk leaving themselves open to vulnerabilities and expensive compliance violations.

More than 20 vulnerabilities were identified in Windows Server 2003 in 2014.

However, with 57 per cent of Australian organisations still running at least one instance of Windows Server 2003, it presents an opportunity for channel players to move customers to a more modern infrastructure (Azure, Office365, CRM Online).

Microsoft Australia Cloud and enterprise product Manager, Mike Heald, told ARN the main risk of not migrating was around compliance.

"If you have one server that isn't updated that can make the whole infrastructure non-compliant and that's a big risk. The point is to look at the opportunity for these customers," he said.

"In terms of the cost, if customers don't do anything, it could be more expensive in the long run than doing a migration up front."

Heald said the upgrade opened the way for new technology, but that every customer was different.

"Customers might want o stay on premise, they could go hybrid or they could go cloud, so we are providing choice along that way," he said.

"We are seeing great growth around Office365, they might want to look at moving their email system on premise or maybe to the cloud, they might want to work backup into Azure, or they might want to stay on premise - every customer is different.

He said Windows Sever 2003 was quite old technology.

"Back then virtualisation was not available," he said. "There's a lot you can do now in consolidation of servers into less infrastructure, so in terms of IT costs it will help there.

"We have also done a lot with Cloud as well, so making sure we have the plug in to help customers move to the cloud.

"We have the plugins right to the servers now, so they can actually easily manage their cloud workloads from servers."

There is an estimated 23.8 million instances of Windows Server 2003 running across 11.9 million physical servers worldwide.

According to Spiceworks, a global professional network of more than 5 million IT Professionals, 65 per cent of organisations which use its tools in Asia Pacific are still running at least one instance of Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft Australia director of partner business development, Phil Goldie, said, from a partner perspective, it was a great opportunity to to go back to customers and try to understand what it is they were doing with the technology.

"I think one of our points of view is that nobody buys Windows Server for the sake of it, it's always a technology that underpins either a piece of infrastructure within the company, or its the basis of a line of business application that's running on top of an SQL server or applications from ISVs that are written in .NET.


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