Microsoft is trying to make that transition as easy as possible by providing resources on its website to help IT administrators evaluate their options for migration. In addition, he said Microsoft has a number of partner companies with migration expertise that companies could work with.
For right now, Stager said that companies without a transition plan need to figure out how they're going to secure their environments, and then focus on moving applications. Only then can they move away from the old server operating system. In addition, IT departments need to get the company's application developers on board with the shift right away.
"Get to the applications team as quickly as possible," he said. "Make sure that they're aware of what has to happen and why. I find that applications teams don't always have the full picture because in a large company, communications aren't always as efficient as they could be."
One option for organizations that are stuck with Windows Server 2003 and have a Premier Support plan is to pay Microsoft for an extended support contract that will provide them with security fixes for a limited period of time. It's a costly fix, though: those extended service contracts are "not for the faint of wallet," Gillen said in a report on the transition.
That's borne out by the experience of the U.S. Navy, which is paying Microsoft $9.1 million for a contract that provides extended support for Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003.
An added benefit of getting away from Windows Server 2003 is that IT administrators can potentially kill two birds with one stone and also move away from SQL Server 2005, which will lose extended support on April 12, 2016, Schutz said. Many of the current instances of SQL Server 2005 are running on Windows Server 2003, so it makes sense for companies to migrate them all in one fell swoop.
As for Sanofi, Stager said the company is also taking this opportunity to develop methods that will ensure it won't fall into the same situation again.
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