While lack of support from Microsoft for Windows XP can be annoying, a similar lack of support for an instance of Windows Server can be fatal. A year from now, Microsoft plans to end support for Windows Server 2003, which still has an installed base that can be measured in millions of instances.
Dell, which launched a Windows Server 2003 migration service at the recent Dell User Forum 2014, estimates that it will take 200 days to migrate Windows Server 2003 to another platform and more than 300 days to migrate the applications running on that platform. Given the fact that there are only about 250 working days in a year, Jefferson Raley, director of Dell Global Infrastructure Consulting Services, notes that most organizations running Windows Server 2003 are already behind schedule in terms of making that migration.
Unlike desktop operating systems, Raley notes that a server migration is a complex undertaking. Many of those migrations will be made to instances of Windows Server running on premise or in the cloud. But Raley says that a small number of customers could replace Windows Server 2003 with Linux. The number opting to move to an environment such as Microsoft Azure could be quite substantial, though.
Of course, not every customer is going to migrate simply because Microsoft says it's time. But after its acquisition of Quest Software in 2012, Dell sees Windows Server 2003 migrations as an opportunity to leverage the Windows Server management tools it gained in that deal to deliver IT services in keeping with the goals the company outlined when it went private.
Naturally, Dell isn’t the only services organization looking to take advantage of the same opportunity. Regardless of who performs that task, more than a few IT organizations in the next 12 months are going to have their Windows Server 2003 migration work cut out for them.