Launched in 2003, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 has been a trusted operating platform for millions of small businesses. However, on July 14, 2015, Microsoft will terminate its support for the operating system. Today, Gartner estimates that eight million small and mid-sized businesses have yet to migrate to an updated system, with approximately 20 percent of those businesses expected to miss the upcoming cut-off date.
In an effort to support small businesses as they migrate to an updated system, David Maffei, vice president of sales at Carbonite offers insight on what end of life for Server 2003 will mean for your business in addition to tips on avoiding data loss through the migration process.
Migrating from Windows 2003
Click through for insight on what the end of life for Server 2003 will mean for your business, as well as tips on avoiding data loss through the migration process, as identified by David Maffei, vice president of sales at Carbonite.
Why Migrate? Why Today?
On July 14, Microsoft will terminate support of Windows 2003. Businesses will be left with no security updates or patches, leaving physical and virtual instances vulnerable to attack.
Should a business choose to remain on Windows Server 2003, maintenance costs for the operating system will greatly increase. It also leaves the business at risk of being found out of compliance — which could put significant partnerships at risk. For example, lack of compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards may result in companies such as Visa and MasterCard no longer doing business with your company or organization.
Moving to a newer operating system such as Windows Server 2012 R2 will offer the latest functionalities along with enhanced security, advanced virtualization capabilities, affordable storage and better cloud connectivity.
Backup’s Role in Migration
Backup is a necessary insurance plan that protects a business from accidental loss of user data, database corruption, hardware failures, security threats and other issues that can occur during the migration process. When shifting to a new server operating system, backup plays a critical role in minimizing the downtime a business may face during and after the migration.
Backup Before the Migration Begins
Before starting a migration, ensure all data is backed up. Many backup solutions offer customized scheduling options allowing a business to schedule backups in sync with a business’s workflow.
It’s important to know what type of backups will best ensure your business is protected and operating continuously. In most cases, choose from file system, system state and database/app-specific backups (like SQL, Exchange, SharePoint, MySQL, Oracle, Hyber-V and Office 365). This will ensure customer and business-sensitive data is comprehensively protected.
Backup During the Migration
Having the ability to roll back during a migration to recover data that is corrupted or lost can be a lifesaver during an operating system migration. The need to roll back may occur in the case of an unexpected power outage or similar unexpected event. By performing a system state, file system and database/application specific backup, you will ensure a business has the ability to perform a roll back, if needed.
Backup software will often restore data into the latest version of an application. When moving databases or applications to a new server running on the latest software, backup can offer another way to move data over.
During the migration, making sure both old and new servers are backed up will ensure that data can be recovered properly and efficiently. Most backup solutions now offer hybrid backup, which allows data to live on local storage and in the cloud, making files and critical information available at any time during the migration.
Backup After the Migration is Complete
Once the migration has been completed successfully, a business should take steps to protect the new “clean” server deployment, ensuring data is always accessible and avoiding downtime. Performing consistent, regular backups is a vital element of the data protection strategy.
Three different backup techniques can be employed: full backups, differential backups and incremental backups. A full backup is a complete replica of the source data, differential backup captures all changes made in a specified interval of time, and incremental backup captures changes made between the source data and most recent backup.
Identifying a Backup Solution
Each approach to backup has its own strengths and weaknesses. Having a clear understanding of a company’s application environment, pace of data growth, data volatility and the amount of downtime the business can accept without suffering, will help in identifying a flexible and appropriate backup solution. The ideal backup should be scalable and be able to support a migration along with everyday needs so as not to disrupt business continuity.