This month’s Advisory Board article focused on whether there is still an appropriate use case for continuing to use old, unsupported, software. Naturally the topic of the Windows Server 2003 End of Support date (7/14/2015) approaching was hot on everyone’s mind on whether is still has some use cases. Here is my take.
Know when it is time to let it go — old software, that is. Too often, old versions of OSes or applications are left in service well past their expiration date. Old software is not like a good wine. It does not get better with age. It gets skunky like beer.
The next stinker close to its expiration date is Windows Server 2003. It was a great OS in its day. If you choose to keep it in services, I am not even worried about its long-term security as a server OS inside your network. Where I see its shortcomings is in its lack of performance (predominantly 32-bit only), resource capacity for modern applications, and infrastructure support is dwindling (e.g., hypervisor, SANs, drivers, etc).
Most IT professionals welcome modern software. It’s what we do. I find software vendors to be the major headache in the push forward. Working primarily in the medical industry, I see that less than one year before its send off, major medical vendors are still putting Windows 2003 as their only supported platform. Most of them hide behind the FDA certification, but have failed to resubmit their solutions back to the FDA for approval with modern software updates. I know recertification has costs, but shame on them for waiting so long.
If you have an old piece of software that has been running on Windows 2003, then yes, it could be fine. But, if it is running on physical hardware, then it is only a matter of time before it dies. These IT anchors will also drag down your virtual environment upgrades. New versions of both Hyper-V and VMware due in 2015 are bound to drop support for the ageing server OS. Again, you could probably get it to work, but for how long?
Check out the other Advisory Board responses from Brian Kirsch, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Dave Sobel, Level Platforms Inc. HERE