back to article ONE FIFTH of Win Server 2003 users to miss support cutoff date

A fifth of those running Windows Server 2003 are currently expected to miss Microsoft’s deadline to move before it terminates support next year. That number will likely increase as Windows Server 2003 migration projects that are underway hit snags and delays. That’s according to Avanade, which reckons there's a hard core of …

  1. Tzhx

    Seems like a sample size of 100 is rather low to get any real indication of what the picture for this really looks like.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Pint

      @Tzhx

      I was thinking exactly the same thing, up vote for you! Sounds like an easy job just polling 100 people, never mind the results.

      Have a pint too! It's Friday!

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      I tend to agree. But if it was every CIO of the FTSE100...?

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        I know more people on 2k8 purely because it is the last x86 version for their legacy apps. And you know how legacy apps hang around for a long time....

    3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Sample size is fine, just the confidence levels and standard deviations needed.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Our Survey Said.....

    Hire our consultancy firm

    Also, this "cloud is our saviour" myth that keeps rearing it's head

    Try running a cross border operation where data regulations are different in a "cloud" system and see how far the lawyers get

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Our Survey Said.....

      Remember Avenade is a brand behind which Accenture and Microsoft are "hidden"... "Microcenture" would have been more transparent....

  3. MJI Silver badge

    For some small companies it is.........

    New server or pay staff

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: For some small companies it is.........

      And others that say, "server? We have a server?"

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: For some small companies it is.........

        Of course we do, it's that lady with the trolley who brings the tea and buns.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: For some small companies it is.........

      If you can't afford a grand on hardware / licensing, and say another grand for someone to install it for you, then you shouldn't really be hiring staff anyway.

      One week of sick-days and you'll be dead in the water, unable to hire replacements or do anything else.

      This is not about "mom-and-pop" shops. This is about someone who runs a business - and £2k should be a drop in the ocean compared to the ongoing backup costs, Internet connection costs, maintenance contracts, upgrades, software licences, etc. that you already have.

      Sure, it's hassle. But it's far from the end of the world. I did a whole school single-handedly over the course of my normal job, from 2003 and XP to 2012 and Windows 8. The servers I just joined, moved services over gradually, removed the 2003 machines when they were no longer doing anything useful. The clients, however, I spent eight weeks upgrading.

      In terms of businesses with the need for a server (more than 2 employees, at a rough estimate), £2k should be nothing and part of the ongoing costs of having IT. Hell, you can spend that on a photocopier.

      1. Anonymous Bullard
        Thumb Up

        Re: For some small companies it is.........

        I did a whole school single-handedly over the course of my normal job, from 2003 and XP to 2012 and Windows 8

        Wow, a comment from someone in IT who's actually able to perform their job properly... on this very forum!

        Well done. It'll never catch on, though.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: For some small companies it is.........

        @Lee D: you're right, it's not about Mom and Pop shops.

        But let's go to the other end of the scale. My Global enterprise has 30,000 servers spread from NT4 through to Server 2012, various RHEL releases (some of which are also EOL), and various other things including non-stop, OS/2 and mainframe, across production, PPE, Dev, and integration environments. Almost all do their job quite well, and most are secured behind multiple layers of security so are at minimal risk of attack.

        So replacing 5,000 2003 servers just because Microsoft mark it EOL is not just £2k each, but business risk, application development, testing, implementation and decommissioning, none of which benefits a business that's working successfully on what's there today and will naturally be phased out as the applications are replaced.

        And let's face it - I'm the CIO Avenade is targeting, not Mom and Pop.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: For some small companies it is.........

          It isn't as simple as a "couple of grand" though. New hardware will be mandatory as they wont be able to migrate otherwise. New software with newer licensing model is more expensive than the 2k3 they had previously. Plus they will need a bod who can use 2k12. Backups will most likely need to change and depending on how they email they might need a shiney new exchange licence too (or SQL etc).

          Not saying that it isn't hard but we are talking about businesses that are probably still oblivious to the pitfalls of the PPTP VPN they are running on 2k3 or the fact that serverbackup wont work with their tapes any more.

          For schools it is somewhat easier (I did the same except I went from 2k to 2k8 at the time, then 2k8 to 2k12 was a breeze) as the EES covers them for whatever they need whereas for the local plumbers merchant whose system "just works" might find it difficult. that's why you need to keep investing in IT though...

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: For some small companies it is.........

            If the hardware is as old as the OS, you have a bigger problem...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: For some small companies it is.........

          "So replacing 5,000 2003 servers"

          You're so full of shit.

          You can't tell me you've been rolling them out in the past 4 years. So you now have 5000 servers that are at least 5 years old running an OS that's 3 generations old, and there are no plans on replacing them? suuurre.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: For some small companies it is.........

            "So you now have 5000 servers that are at least 5 years old running an OS that's 3 generations old, and there are no plans on replacing them?"

            Technology refresh technical documentation and plans - Yes.

            Business plans - No

            Spare man power - No

            Budgetary approval from the business - No

            In most businesses there simply isn't money sitting in pots/vaults waiting to be spent, spending large sums of money requires approval from the business ie. non-IT people, which mean that IT's priorities are evaluated against other business essential projects and their impact on the business, with the result that some project just have to wait.

            In my case, the money I could of spent on a new laptop was instead spent on maintaining my certification, which has a far greater impact on my earnings ability over the coming year than a shiny new laptop...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: For some small companies it is.........

              "spent on maintaining my certification"

              They still do MCSEs??

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: For some small companies it is.........

                >They still do MCSEs??

                Such low aspirations, no my C.Eng., Prince2 & TOGAF certifications.

  4. frank ly

    Lots of popcorn time

    "... Today people are talking about moving DR [disaster recovery] functionality to the cloud,”

    1. Anonymous Bullard
      Facepalm

      Re: Lots of popcorn time

      Why do they always have the frying pan so close to the fire?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha!

    Some of us are only now migrating from Windows Server 2000 to Windows Server 2003.

    2008 or 2012 are a distant dream.

    Anonymous, because, well...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ha!

      Anonymous, because, well...

      well... you're inept.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Ha!

        Not sure on the downvote, you could have at least migrated from 2k to 2k8 (x86 if need be).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ha!

          Sadly, its a legacy application requiring very large sum to upgrade. Definitely won't run on anything after 2003, and was never supported on anything after 2000.

          At least this kind of problem can be parked in a VM these days, although that just allows the bean counters to prolong the agony.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The major problem with W2003

    Is that it just works and that fact presents a major problem for Microsoft's Finances, not for the user.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: The major problem with W2003

      Yes, it does look like having successfully taken over the enterprise with WS2K3, XP and key business applications - such as AD, Exchange & Office, MS, rather than building on its success, is determined to antagonise and alienate its enterprise customers and users.

      As for MS's Financials, the laugh is that these customers were, through the various volume licence agreements, already paying MS an annual licence fee regardless of which version of MS software they were using (a client is still paying MS annual licence fee's for the right to continue to use some NT and W2K server licences without support...)

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: The major problem with W2003

        As MS is the only "enterprise" thas ask you to upgrade its product once every eleven year.... how many of the products you buy from other "enterprises" last and are supported for so long? Phones? TV sets? Cameras? Domestic appliances? Cars? Clothes? Shoes?

        Why in an "enterprise" nobody complains if cars, phones, offices are upgraded, but if an old operating systems needs to be upgraded it's a problem? Just because you can't show off with it?

        Face it - it's a recurring cost because it gets obsolete as everything else - and its substitution should have been planned far before. If you didn't and wasted money in something else, well, you're just a bad IT manager.

        1. Velv Silver badge

          Re: The major problem with W2003

          @LDS

          "As MS is the only "enterprise" thas ask you to upgrade its product once every eleven year"

          Er, no. Most industrial plant equipment is capitalised over 10-20 years and expected to last longer. Several factories I visit still use lathes and similar equipment that are 40 years old. Only consumer grade shit has built in obsolescence. (Cue comments about Windows being consumer grade).

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: The major problem with W2003

            It's "business" grade, not "consumer" grade. Maybe not "industrial" grade. Wha's in your office is 20 years old?

            What is designed in IT to last 20 or 40 years? Are you still using PDP-11s? Maybe only some large (and very expensive) mainframes last that long. Or some non replaceable units like the units on Hubble or some space probes.

            How many not expensive and heavy tools are designed to last 20 or 40 years? My father runs a professional tools selling business for the mechanical industry - and it sells a lot of tools that will anyway wear out in a few years, and I'm not talking about consumables. Do you believe even, for example, a professional drill or grinder will last twenty years under heavy use? It won't last eleven.

            There are even measurement tools you are forced by laws to replace every n years because otherwise you can't ensure they are still within acceptable parameters.

            And most industrial plant equipment requires anyway expensive maintenance and spare parts to keep on working for its expected lifetime - sometimes even custom-built spare parts.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The major problem with W2003

              When I started as an apprentice in the mid 70's, a lot of the machines in the machine shop had "war finish" painted on them!

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: The major problem with W2003

      Like XP, now 2003 is an outdated OS designed for the hardware available eleven years ago. Newer system with newer CPUs (and instruction sets), more cores, much more RAM, higher network speeds, huge disks, virtualization, and new technologies like SSD maybe directly connected to the PCIe bus require an update OS with deep kernel changes. Security concerns also require new designs that may not be simply retrofitted to older code.

      But it looks too many so called "system administrators" are just scared of changes - because it means "work" - and something new to learn.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The major problem with W2003

        "But it looks too many so called "system administrators" are just scared of changes - because it means "work" - and something new to learn."

        That's typical of all Windows users, not just the admins.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: The major problem with W2003

          No, it's typical of many admins, regardless of the OS they use. Their main aim is to minimize the work they have to do. and not in a clever way.

          The badly configured, vulnerable sytems which lead to breaches and leaks took the veil away from a lot of bad administration practices common in the past years, the "it works, don't touch it" mantra that was designed to hide the real "it is somehow working, I'm too afraid to touch it because I've really no clue how to make it work again if something fails, and I don't want to learn it because it looks like work, nor I want to maintain and update it properly because again it looks like work....".

          It's a cross-platform mindset, believe me, common among lazy and incompetent administrator - thanks to heaven not everybody is in this class - but there are far too many around. Using a different OS won't cure laziness and incompetence.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: The major problem with W2003

            to be honest, even in our 2k12 / W7 environment our hand written printer scripts and drive maps work far more reliably than GPO preferences. Whilst they SHOULDNT (technically) they just do.

            there is also the mentality in business to "the system works so lets cut the IT staff". Thus leading to the sysadmin cutting corners in order to make deadlines etc. False economy but not always the best approach. It is easy for the crusaders to say "well simply leave!" when you have mortgages to pay and kids to look after. You keep going and make the best of the job as you can.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The major problem with W2003

        Not just work, but updates to commercial software which may be running on it.

        Also changes to procedures, staff training and so on.

        IIS7 is massively different and more complex than IIS7 for instance.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: The major problem with W2003

          "IIS7 is massively different and more complex than IIS7 for instance."

          And the fact that it scales better and is more secure are not good reasons to upgrade?

    3. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: The major problem with W2003

      "Just works" - without virtualisation, proper DFS, if you still want your login scripts to be hand-written batch files for most things (drive maps and printers comes to mind), and dozens of other features.

      The problem with "just works" is that you're not making the most of what you have. I moved 2003 servers to 2012R2. The difference was amazing. Just the configurability, for a start, but then being able to do proper VM's (stick your old 2003 in the VM's if you're worried!), have reliable failover (2008+ will do automatic DHCP failover quite nicely), etc. was an enormous boost to the places I put it in.

      Hell, last time I tried it was an absolute pain to get SCSI drivers for the 2003 machines we used, especially when you got into RAID. If nobody still sells the kit you use, it's a warning about what happens when your server dies and you need to get it running from backups.

      2003 just works for only the most basic setups that make almost no changes over the years... tiny offices with a handful of people. Anything larger than that and you are truly setting yourself up for failure. When that thing dies, and you can't spin up a replacement without buying 2012 anyway (and virtualising the old one or running 2012 yourself), you'll find the problem.

      To be honest, I can't stand Microsoft. I only hate Apple more. But 2012R2 is pretty damn good and has a core of features that mean upgrading a bank of servers running on a handful of actual physical systems becomes a breeze and the users don't even know you've done it. 2003 is the DOS of today. Sure, some places can still get on with it and do what they need to do. But the second you have to integrate, run external services, or do anything remotely interesting, you'll find that you'll be crying out for 2008 at the very least, and that only for a couple more years.

  7. Yugguy

    Crevice

    He said crevice.

    Hehehehehehe.

    Crack.

    Hehehehehe.

    1. Velv Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Crevice

      Intergluteal cleft

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The last Windows Server Operating System

    to have in-built Tape Backup support.

    I won't be moving away from it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The last Windows Server Operating System

      That could be stripped down and run as an appliance - looks like all our AD domain controllers will be migrated to Samba.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: The last Windows Server Operating System

      What's a tape?

      Let me introduce you to the 2010's where we have things called NAS and cloud storage. They backup in a tenth of the time, store ten times as much, and you can put them everywhere - including home. You can run your damn servers OFF them if you buy iSCSI-capable ones (i.e. anything but the very cheapest).

      And they're cheap enough to have several of them, dotted around, a small one to take off-site (or even leave off-site on the IT guy's home broadband for live-backups), and push to "the cloud" (i.e. a server in a hosting facility) automatically if you want.

      Tape's a bit... well... old. The reason there's no built-in tape support is because the cheapest bunch of NAS, two in each location that you put any backup tape in, will do a better job for less cost and greater reliability. And restore times are ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE better. Tape is the last link in the backup chain nowadays. And only because people are attached to it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The last Windows Server Operating System

        Technically, tapes are shit.

        Procedurally, where you have to physically take your back-ups off site in a secure box to be carted away by a grunt in a van, tapes are fit for purpose - do you have a better idea to tick that box?

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: The last Windows Server Operating System

          Tapes do work with 2008 and 2012 - only you don't have any longer tape support in the OS. If you still need tapes, you need also more modern software to handle them. Most smaller system are no longer backed up to single tape devices, or small tape libraries (today external USB disks are faster and easy as well to be secured off-site) - if you're going to use tape, probably you're using some larger tape library which will need anyway a good management application.

      2. Velv Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: The last Windows Server Operating System

        Don't need tape drives anymore...

        ... until you need to recover something from an old tape.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The last Windows Server Operating System

        My total backup is some 100TB. I have a single main site. Transferring that via any affordable pipe into the cloud isn't going to happen in a reasonable timeframe. Carrying around a 100TB of NAS will end in physically failed HDs or backs at some point. A company van with 50 encrypted LTO tapes in the boot is an effective solution, which you don't seem to be offering an effective alternative to.

        "People tend to confuse the words "new" and "improved." "

        1. Yugguy

          Re: The last Windows Server Operating System

          By people you meany shiny-suited foetuses calling themselves "consultants".

          Reminds me of the Mormons, you'll see two 12 year olds on bikes with little badges "Elder Smith", "Elder Jones"

          Son, you are elder in neither faith nor years. Now eff off.

  9. LDS Silver badge

    Incomplete...

    "The types of apps that will pose the biggest problems are custom-built, in-house apps, especially where the authors have moved on, and apps that have been heavily customized. "

    Should have been written as:

    "The types of apps that will pose the biggest problems are *badly* (often to save money) custom-built, in-house apps, especially where the authors have moved on (often because of salaries...), and apps that have been *badly* heavily customized (by the usual consulting company without a clue about proper development practices and hiring cheap clueless developers)"

    Beyond applications connected to hardware for which updated drivers are not available, the others that will pose any problem are those written ignoring Windows specifications (and writing everything using DOS/win 3.1 habits) and so strongly tied to a single OS implementation (ans usually with so little security concerns....) they won't work on newer OS despite the efforts MS puts in backward compatibility.

    Maybe it's also time to upgrade some applications, and not only the CEO car...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Incomplete...

      so strongly tied to a single OS implementation

      In hindsight that's bad - in fact nowadays we're reluctant to even be tied into a single OS family.

      But a decade ago that type of behaviour was actively encouraged by Microsoft, for obvious reasons.

      And it's still very typical this day and age among the corporate developers who quite frankly don't have a clue and aren't motivated to learn the art of their trade, and just want to survive the next month without people realising how shoddy they are. In two years time, when the "bastards at Microsoft change everything on purpose just to suck more money out of us", the finger is pointed at MS - not the developer who's been plodding along doing the same shit for the last 10 years. (Yes, I've been maintaining this month).

      I think we've all worked with people like that, or suffered because of them (perhaps even been that person at one point).

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Incomplete...

        "But a decade ago that type of behaviour was actively encouraged by Microsoft, for obvious reasons."

        Microsoft never encouraged anybody to write bad software tied to a single version of Windows - maybe even a specific release within a version (i.e. SP1 but not SP2...). MSDN has been always full of specification about how software should be written to be forward compatible also. Sure, always *within* Windows, but you can't blame a company because it wants to sell its products.

        Neverthless, writing good applications means also exploiting OS features fully - and that could become a tradeoff between portability and features/performance. Which one sacrifice more depends on the application and its aims.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Incomplete...

          Hmm... using features of a version of their latest OS, then they drop it in the next version does tie you into that version.

          Having said that, on the whole they have been good with backwards compatibility, at a "it just works" level, provided you stay well within what's documented in MSDN. Any non-trivial software will always need tweaking to make it work in the next Windows version, but that requires build-able source code and when we're talking about systems wrote a decade ago that might be a tricky requirement to meet in some places, especially when you've relied on 3rd party (not Microsoft's fault in that case).

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Incomplete...

            Name a server OS feature/API that was dropped in a later version - and which didn't became really obsolete (i.e., IPX support is not a valid one <G>)

            It is not true that "any non trivial software will always needs tweaking to make it work on the next Windows version". If it needs, it means it did something "dirty" to take shortcuts in development.

            Raymond Chen's "The Old New Thing" is full of "horror stories" about how many developers screw up taking shortcuts .- and often what MS is forced to do under the hood of Windows to ensure some applications written or used by some large customers still work....

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Incomplete...

              >Name a server OS feature/API that was dropped in a later version

              .NET Framework - Remember applications written for v1.1 won't work with v2 or v3, which in turn don't work with v4 and naturally Win7 and Win8 don't support all versions.

              ASP.NET

              COM

              ...

              We shouldn't forget that the original intent of the MS Win8 dev team was to ditch the Win desktop, forcing everyone to rewrite their applications to use TIFKAM... Interestingly, I'm not aware that MS have revised their Windows style guide to enable developers to develop Win8 compatible applications in a way that is forward looking...

          2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Incomplete...

            " Any non-trivial software will always need tweaking to make it work in the next Windows version"

            Even that is overstating things somewhat. The usual reasons for needing to tweak are a dependency on a device driver or some integration with either the Windows shell or something like Office. If you avoid those, nearly all properly written apps written for WinNT will still run on 2k12 or Win8.1.

            In fact, *most* commercial software lists a range of Windows versions on the box and if you've truly supported "XP/Vista/7", you've probably got very few portability horrors left in your code.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Incomplete...

              Nice theory.

              Unfortunately, there are plenty of windows developers who don't develop properly written apps. This is proven by the amount of people still on old windows versions, unable to upgrade due to "legacy systems".

              Mediocre developers making mediocre applications that businesses rely on - and I actually blame Microsoft for that, by dumbing down Visual Studio with each version.

  10. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Confused

    "The types of apps that will pose the biggest problems are custom-built, in-house apps, especially where the authors have moved on, and apps that have been heavily customized. Typically these are data-intensive and mission-critical, like ERP."

    "Three quarters of those that do have a migration plan have the cloud in their sights."

    I'm struggling to reconcile these two statements. If you are still on 2k3 because of app-compat, how the hell is the cloud going to help? Either you can find a supported OS for those apps or you can't. Running on virtualised hardware isn't going to help.

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