Hopefully this blog post brings no surprise that Windows 2003 is soon coming to its end of support (on July 14, 2015 to be exact). With the run up to the end of support (EOS) of Windows XP last year, many businesses faced a similar situation—forced migration off of an aging Windows OS and on to the latest and greatest.
There are many good reasons to complete an upgrade to Windows Server 2012, in addition to the end of receiving security updates:
- Despite all the security woes over the years, Windows Server 2012 is a pretty solid system.
- The latest applications are going to be designed and optimized for a Windows 2012 environment.
- Windows 2003 is not a skill set most administrators have maintained.
With all the benefits of Windows Server 2012, there has to be a good reason why many companies are still running Windows 2003 in their environments (and it’s likely that the reason isn’t that the above benefits don’t apply).
- “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” While this is a truism that avoids disruption to the business, it fails to recognize the potential benefits that an upgrade could bring or the disruption that comes from facing an EOS situation.
- Cost. If software maintenance contracts haven’t been maintained (usually to save cost), then there’s a one-time cost to get the latest OS and/or application licenses.
- Application compatibility. I’ve worked with many customers in the past that held off on application upgrades because of lagging support from the software vendor for newer OS versions.
- Lowest prioritization. The most likely reason is that there simply isn’t time in the workweek to get this upgrade completed. Whether this is the result of IT staff wearing too many hats, a very demanding user base, or a never-ending full plate of other projects (this was always my issue in my IT Pro days), the ability to focus on properly addressing OS upgrades was never a relative priority. Even the attempts to test upgrades during the weekend get preempted by backups that take too long, failed restores, or “keep the lights on” operations.
Fortunately, the industry has been through a major EOS situation in its recent past with the aforementioned Window XP EOS, where organizations across the globe needed to prioritize a desktop OS transition to Windows 7. In that process, many organizations made the decision to look at their entire desktop lifecycle to see where improvements could be made—especially since they were already going to invest considerable time completing rollout testing. The savvy departments also realized that if they properly implemented changes to the infrastructure (with virtual desktop infrastructure, for example) and procedures, they would also avoid a similar fire drill that would inevitably arise in the future. The result of this rearchitecture delivered many benefits, including greater agility, flexibility, and a better-defined cost model for future growth.
SimpliVity is well positioned to help organizations achieve many of these benefits in conjunction with the move off of Windows 2003. Let’s examine how.
Refresh Cycle Reduction
By eliminating the need for eight to 12 data center appliances, SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure helps companies get off the time-draining refresh cycle for each infrastructure silo. Each year, some part of the legacy infrastructure is up for renewal (servers, storage, network, WAN accelerators, backup, backup to disk, etc.), which increases the number of projects IT must address. By breaking this vicious cycle, IT organizations are able to free up time and better predict future costs for growth and upgrades of the environment.
Rapid Provisioning and Deployment
SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure also helps customers “go to the well once” to complete a major infrastructure-wide upgrade. With simplified product SKUs, deployment in less than a day and a single phone call to support everything below the hypervisor, SimpliVity makes the process of getting the new environment operational very simple.
Once the current environment is moved over to a SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure environment, testing of upgrades becomes very simple. Spin up as many clones or backups as needed with very little impact to disk capacity or performance (due to SimpliVity’s inline deduplication and compression). When it’s time to perform the actual upgrade in production, administrators can better protect their environment throughout the upgrade process by taking backups at a higher frequency and storing them for longer periods, thanks to SimpliVity’s native data efficiencies.
Native Data Protection
A SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure also provides options that were never possible before. For example, SimpliVity has customers that had never been able to perform disaster recovery because of poor WAN performance. Others had not been able to properly meet their Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) because backups took too long—even when performed once per day. Now, with SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure, they are able to provide these services to their businesses.
In the end, customers end up with a much less infrastructure complexity, more streamlined management, and dramatically fewer components to refresh every three to five years. This frees up IT’s time to focus on strategic projects, like maintaining applications and OS updates.
So what should you do next? First, don’t delay. You likely have a lot of ground to cover and procrastination isn’t going to gain you anything in this situation (trust me, I’m a chronic procrastinator). Second, check out SimpliVity’s Windows Server 2003 EOS microsite. Finally, contact our sales team to put together a configuration and quote.