Microsoft has announced an end-of-life for the Microsoft Server 2003. That means that enterprises should start thinking about migrating away from 2003. According to Microsoft, service will end on July 14th, 2015.
They recommend Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure, and Office 365 as great options for migration. Microsoft for its part has according to reports offered to still support Microsoft Server 2003 at a cost of $600 per server/ per year. They have also hinted that the support costs for a second year might be even more expensive.
Of course a custom support contract will help enterprises who are unprepared, it shouldn’t be seen as a long-term solution. Without free upgrades, enterprises will continue to see rising support costs and more importantly, security risks. While it may seem nice that Microsoft is offering to extend support, all one has to do to see the amount of money that Microsoft stands to gain by building custom support contracts.
When Microsoft decided to end support for Microsoft XP, The UK government decided on an extended support contract. They were caught out and needed to at least have critical upgrades since 85% of their 800, 000 PCs were running XP. So how much was the contract? 5.5 billion pounds!
Microsoft pulls the plug
Even though 27% of Windows users are using XP, Windows went ahead and pulled the plug. There has been speculation that this was done to drive customers to Windows 8, but even with that (Windows has offered $100 off an upgrade) users still are choosing Windows 7 at 48%. It could also be that Microsoft sees a future for pay-for-support structures, where they will support a product until a new version comes to market and if users need support after that, they would have to upgrade of pay for it.
Lookeen Server, which can also run on Microsoft Server 2003, will continue to be supported where possible.