July 14th 2015 marks an important date for IT, which itself represents a golden opportunity for SMBs. However, if businesses fail to address the key technical changes that come into force on this date, they risk exposing the business to a range of security threats.
If you’ve not guessed already, I’m talking about the end of support for Windows Server 2003, which at the time of writing is now less than a month away.
From next month, users of Windows Server 2003 will no longer receive updates, security patches or online technical assistance. Alarmingly, Microsoft states there are still close to 24 million instances of Windows Server 2003 running across 11.9 million physical servers worldwide. As such, there is a real sense of urgency for businesses to safeguard themselves and prepare for the next generation of IT.
While this might sound ominous, upgrading your version of Windows Server can deliver some serious benefits – a point discussed by Microsoft earlier this year. Business has changed dramatically since 2003, and it’s time IT reflected this. After all, with SMBs increasingly looking to offer BYOD initiatives and empower employees to work from anywhere, a change to IT is imminent.
Users of Windows Server 2003 must act today to protect their business, and one path to a seamless and accelerated migration is through virtualisation.
By creating a virtual version of your physical IT environment, such as your employees’ desktops, servers, or the applications used across your organisation, you can seamlessly migrate from Windows Server 2003 by making more efficient use of your existing IT resources. This is because your IT environment can be managed from a single point, making it easier to upgrade software, while maintaining a consistent user experience.
Considering on-premise Windows Server migrations typically take 200 days to complete, how can virtualisation technologies help you to upgrade significantly faster, and in advance of July 14th 2015?
Fine-tuned for Success
Migrating business applications to a new platform has traditionally been the most complex, costly, and time-consuming part of any Windows Server upgrade, with IT departments required to determine how applications will run in the new environment.
However, by using modern application migration software, such as Citrix’s AppDNA™, you can test your applications in a virtual environment representing your new server to accurately assess performance. This helps streamline and accelerate upgrades by reducing the repetition of testing, which ensures a much higher chance of success.
Like many SMBs, we’re sure that you’re running some of your IT systems in the cloud. Running your Windows Server upgrade in a virtual environment lets you extend the infrastructure into the services you are running in the cloud so that you can choose the best option for each workload. What’s more, instead of limiting you to a single vendor’s cloud, Citrix provides the freedom to define and evolve your cloud strategy in the best way for your organisation.
The best virtual environments make IT easy to manage and use by allowing you to centralise services in your data center and consolidate the amount of physical infrastructure being used. Additionally, virtualising applications and desktop will enable you to have greater visibility into user sessions so that your IT expert can efficiently manage your corporate network. Therefore, upgrading Windows Server through virtualisation makes sense – it will be simple, rapid, and efficient.
Moving away from Windows Server 2003 has the potential to be a key moment for your business. Get it right, and you’ll have a next generation platform built for success in current and future markets. With time fast running out, it’s critical you act today, as virtualisation is a seamless and painless approach to getting the most out of your new IT.
About the Author:
Safi Obeidullah, Director Technical Services (ANZ) at Citrix.