The upcoming end of support for Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 will be behind a sharp increase in cloud adoption among UK businesses, according to the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF).
From July next year, Microsoft will no longer offer support for the 11-year-old server operating system, leaving customers open to similar security threats facing those continuing to run Windows XP on PCs.
According to CIF's latest research, 61 per cent of organisations are still running Windows Server 2003, most of which will turn to the cloud when they migrate.
CIF's chief executive Alex Hilton said the end of support is a massive opportunity for cloud players.
"There will be a significant wave of activity going on as it comes to the end of its life and cloud is an obvious route [for migrations]," he told CRN.
"Cloud migrations happen on needs-based activity – [customers migrate] because something is happening and Windows Server end of life is it. It is a massive opportunity in terms of cloud adoption."
When the one-year countdown to Windows XP end of support kicked off last summer, Microsoft launched a massive migration campaign, something which is expected to pop up again this year for Windows Server 2003.
Elsewhere in CIF's study, it said it expects 90 per cent of UK businesses to use cloud in some form by the end of next year.
As of June 2014, CIF claims 78 per cent of UK businesses use cloud in some form, up from 63 per cent in September 2013. It claims cloud adoption has grown by 61.5 per cent since the research was first carried out in 2010.
Hilton added that hybrid IT is the future.
"Nine out of 10 companies will continue to invest in on-premise IT alongside and integrated with cloud solutions," he said. "In other words we are in fact seeing the normalisation of cloud in the hybrid IT market."
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