Microsoft is willing to still support Server 2003 and provide you with software updates for the operating system. But there are some catches.
Organizations that are running Server 2003 can still get a paid support option form Microsoft that will provide them with updates to the operating system. The catch is that you have to enter into a contract and that updates will be provided to you, they just aren’t going to come through Windows Update. Instead you’ll use another channel to acquire security updates for your Server 2003 systems. The process is similar to the one that the US Navy has organized where they pay Microsoft 9 million dollars a year and Microsoft provides them with support for Windows XP.
In terms of how much it will cost your organization to get support for Server 2003? Well it depends. How long is a piece of string. As far as I understand it, there is no set rate. You’ll have to negotiate with Microsoft and Microsoft really wants you to move away from Server 2003, so it’s going to be more than a few cents per server per month.
I recently asked a conference audience of several hundred if any of them still had Server 2003 in their environment. About 30-40% answered yes. When I asked if anyone who was still running Windows Server 2003 in their environment actually had a support contract, only a couple of hands rose.
It seems that the majority of those who are still running Server 2003 are doing so without support, which has all sorts of interesting compliance implications that we will cover in another post.