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So why are so many people still using Windows Server 2003 anyway?

So why are so many people still using Windows Server 2003 anyway?

A good mate said to me the other day “tell a bloke in 2003 that he’ll get 12 years work out of a computer and he’ll be pleased. But in 2015 if you tell him the same computer needs to be replaced it’s worked well for 12 years and he’ll be annoyed”

We all know that there are a massive number of servers running Windows Server 2003 still humming along in server rooms all across the world, even though we’re only a couple of months away from end-of-support for the OS.

While there is definitely movement away from the OS, there will still be many millions of computers running the operating system when the deadline rolls around. Just as there were (and still are) many millions of computers running Windows XP out there, quietly humming away, sitting on people’s desks.

Why are people sticking with a technology that’s fast approaching its use-by date?

Perhaps because it still works.

You can tell people that the OS will be unsupported and that it won’t be getting patches. Sure, they are concerned about it, but as long as the server still keeps running after the cut off date, they know they’ll get around to dealing with an upgrade in the fullness of time. Security concerns are more abstract to people these days. When Code-Red and Nimbda were around, people were a bit more worried about security. These days the intrusions that get publicity, like the Target and Home Depot breaches seem to sound more like a plot out of a Hollywood movie or episode of CSI than a real thing that ordinary people need to worry about

Perhaps in some ways the Windows XP experience weighs a little on the minds of people. If you were an organization that didn’t get of Windows XP in time, and you’re still using it today, you’re probably pretty blasé about the expiration of support for Windows Server 2003. If your XP computers are still running, what’s the worst that can happen after the expiration of support for the server?

If you’re in the business of supporting organizations that aren’t willing to migrate, what do you do? Most of the small businesses my mate looks after don’t have an IT focus. Some of them are running outdated desktop operating systems and he’s pretty sure that they will be running outdated server operating systems a few months from now. He reminds them that these OS either are unsupported, or soon will be, but these non-IT business owners don’t really seem to see migration as a priority as long as everything keeps ticking over.

The question my mate gets is “is it going to stop working?”. And he replies “well, no”. And with that the sense of urgency is gone.



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