A significant percentage of businesses are putting their futures at risk and not migrating away from Windows Server 2003 as they think Microsoft aren’t serious about ending support on the 14th July, says HP’s UK manager for servers.
Angela Cross, HP’s server country manager for UK & Ireland, believes that an estimated 1 in 3 organisations have not migrated to Window Server 2012, despite the dangers surrounding security and compliance of retaining the soon-to-be obsolete operating system. "Customers are waiting for Microsoft to announce on the 14th July that support will be extended for another 12 months, but they have been very clear on this for the last six months that this will not happen. HP is concerned that customers are leaving themselves badly exposed."
The reason behind this reluctance to upgrade, suspects Cross, is a combination of Microsoft’s track record in extending the life of PC operating systems and the cost to businesses of migrating away from XP last year, which has stretched budgets. "I think there is probably in excess of at least 30 per cent of the market (in the UK), if not considerably higher, that have done nothing.” said Cross.
Westcoast continues to offer services for HP partners looking to help end users migrate from Windows Server 2003, including a webinar covering best practices on the 21st July and an incentive for purchasers of new Gen9 servers or Windows Server 2012 to win tickets to the forthcoming Rugby World Cup.
Highlighting Westcoast’s work in helping resellers to provide migration via the Windows EOS program and Upgrade And Win campaign, Cross added, “I don't think it's for any lack of communication. Some end users have decided not to migrate.”
Microsoft has made several warnings that continued use of Windows Server 2003 will bring risks to the security and compliance of business systems, yet as of January this year it was estimated that over 400,000 servers were still waiting to be updated. "There are potentially customers that are very exposed to huge vulnerabilities," Angela said. "I think businesses take the view that such servers are probably only doing file and print tasks, they’re not frontline so it’s not critical – but it's still an access route into their network and therefore their business, so they are a weak point in their systems."
It is this sheer number of servers yet to be updated, with end users feeling they lack time or resources to undertake critical migrations, that Cross believes presents an opportunity to the channel. “A customer might have perhaps 20 or 30 servers but understanding the vulnerabilities they may contain is difficult if they don't have a sophisticated IT capability. And that scales all the way up to organisations running tens of thousands of servers. Where do you start?"
"Windows 2003, from an HP perspective, is probably running on at least generation 5 or older, so if you had 10 Gen5 servers, you probably need just one Gen9 server to deliver the same performance today. It isn't a hardware-heavy refresh; it's a consulting and transformation project, which is where partners can work with Westcoast to provide professional migration services to their customers and help them move away from retaining a server operating system that will soon become a risk to their operations”