I just got back from delivering sessions at Ignite New Zealand. During each session I polled the audience to learn how many were still running Server 2003 in some capacity in their organization. Each time I asked roughly 30-40% of the room put their hand up.
My follow up question was whether anyone really wanted to be running Server 2003 right now. Not a hand was raised. I then asked if factors beyond the control of the IT department were stopping people from migrating. Again about 30-40% of the hands in the room went up. I asked how many organizations had Server 2003 support agreements. To my surprise, it seems that very few people running Server 2003 (at least in New Zealand and who attend Ignite) have bothered to ensure that the OS is supported.
It should be no surprise to anyone that there will be organizations running Server 2003 12 months from now. From the perspective of management, Windows Server 2003 “just works”. All the current virtualization vendors support Windows Server 2003, which means that unlike previous operating systems, it won’t die out from hardware attrition or a lack of device drivers. Perhaps at some point a future virtualization product won’t function with Server 2003, but given that Hyper-V on Server 2012 R2 does allow you to run VMs running Server 2003 and Server 2012 R2 will be supported by Microsoft until 2023, I’m not expecting the number of instances of Server 2003 to dissipate anytime soon.
My guess is that if I ask Ignite New Zealand audiences next year if they still have one or more instances of Server 2003 in their environment, between 15 and 20% of hands will go up. It’s likely to be some years before the number of computers running Server 2003 is so small it can be ignored as a statistical anomaly.