Like Windows XP before it, Microsoft will cease to support the now 12-year-old Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2 (WS03) effective July 15, 2015. The move is in line with Microsoft’s regular support life cycle policies.
Originally launched on April 24, 2003, Windows Server 2003 was a follow-up product to Windows Server 2000, which a select few companies still use. It was designed to be compatible with Windows XP and complement the then-new operating system’s functions while reducing the attack surface of new computers connected to a network.
Separate editions of Windows Server 2003 were later introduced for use by small and medium-sized businesses and larger corporations.
“Back in 2003, Windows Server 2003 was the first server operating system launched after the Trustworthy Computing Initiative was announced and it introduced server roles,” Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of Cloud and Enterprise for Microsoft eulogized in a blog post.
“It had a recommended minimum processor speed of 550 MHz, and up to 4GB of RAM supported in the 32-bit version, taking advantage of the new hardware that was then becoming available,” Numoto continued. “And it was well received, reaching levels of adoption that were at the time unprecedented for our server business.”
Two years after the initial launch of Windows Server 2003, Microsoft released Windows Server 2003 R2. Building upon the success of the original version, R2 brought forth several new features, which included centralized management tools for files and printers, user access logging and server virtualization.
Although support for both editions of Windows Server 2003 is ending in under six months’ time, there are some alternatives. Microsoft has since introduced newer versions of the same software, and some enterprise users have migrated their operations to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.
“We believe the end is an exciting new beginning for our customers. Many customers, from large enterprises such as Aston Martin, to smaller businesses such as Karen M. Hazleton, CPA have already upgraded to newer versions of Windows Server or Microsoft Azure,” said Numoto.
“These customers are seeing real benefits, including improved performance, higher reliability, and increased flexibility in responding to business needs. If you are still running Windows Server 2003, I want to remind you that now is the time to migrate.”
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