More than nine million global systems must migrate from Windows Server 2003 by 14th July 2015. Yet, there is often a lack of urgency for businesses to invest in IT when the existing infrastructure isn't seen as ‘broken'. This upgrade isn't about fixing businesses, but futureproofing their growth and success and managing potential security risks. Keeping up with IT is simply the cost of doing business in today's ever-changing environment.
With July's final cut-off fast approaching, businesses should understand the implications of end of life. There will be no security updates, fixes or online support. Microsoft will not change its mind on this date. This creates security concerns for businesses that haven't migrated, as if any vulnerability is discovered, there won't be a patch to fix it, thus exposing organisations to greater security risks.
But, perhaps more importantly, businesses need to recognise the compromising situation they could be putting their customers, partners and suppliers in from both a legal and regulatory point of view. In certain industries, it is obligatory to be operating fully vendor-supported applications in order to meet regulatory requirements. Without migrating, businesses could jeopardise these relationships and contracts and expose themselves to a costly security breach should an issue arise with their outdated IT infrastructure.
While there is no avoiding the need for change, it does not have to be disruptive. Businesses needed to mitigate the inherent risk of running legacy infrastructures and unsupported, unsecure, non-compliant software. This was especially pertinent for enterprises that were still operating on old systems. As a result, serious consideration should have been given in order to plan, design, implement, manage and support the transition quickly and cost-effectively. Enterprises that didn't adhere to this now risk spending huge amounts on IT support and maintenance for outdated systems that can't be supported long-term.
However, for forward-looking IT departments, the upgrade date was be viewed as an opportunity to modernise infrastructure, reduce expenses and improve the IT environment. As a matter of fact, through this process businesses can increase flexibility as well as improve customer experience and service levels of older applications. Businesses that migrated had a chance to revisit their organisational processes and identify gaps, or even re-skill staff.
In fact, for HP and our partners, this upgrade translated to a collaborative business transformation opportunity; for example, there was a hardware and software license opportunity for partners, as most of the 2003 servers were running on old systems. In addition, a major opportunity was supporting partners to provide the added value to customers to help them through the migration process and ultimately increase loyalty across their client base.
We understand that Windows Server 2003 migration is an urgent event, especially with an estimated 30 per cent of the UK market still to migrate, and that's why we have offered partners and customers the right solution at the right price, with our most complete compute and services portfolio as well as the largest partner network in the industry. Our initial investigation helped define the five Rs during the application assessment- replace/retire, revise, refactor, rebuild or rehost. From this a company can assess its business risk, design the next generation of its solution and execute a managed migration to a suitable new environment.
Furthermore, together with Microsoft, we have launched a joint program to help both Enterprise and SMB customers as well as support partners migrate from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012R2. To conclude, we have stressed the importance of this migration and ensured that we have worked collaboratively with our partners to help protect businesses from future vulnerabilities and security breaches.
Angela Cross is HP's UK and Ireland country manager for servers and software
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