Channel Preps for Windows Server 2003 End of Life

By Gina Roos  |  Print this article Print
Windows server 2003 migration

The channel's role revolves around helping SMBs migrate to newer technologies, even if it's too late to meet the Windows Server 2003 end-of-support deadline.

However, no channel player is willing to rush the migration. Some say it may be more cost-effective to pay for the support versus making rushed decisions to upgrade to a new environment before the deadline. Other Band-Aid solutions include shutting down the server to mitigate risk from non-compliance or to turn off or virtualize legacy apps.

"We want our partners to be smart about it and get all their customers migrated over, but we don't want to do it in a way that exposes any of them. I'd rather move somebody a couple of weeks after EOL as long as I have a good plan for them and are communicating with them and have everything backed up," said Dave Maffei, vice president of global channel sales at Carbonite.

Carbonite, a provider of cloud and hybrid business-continuity solutions for SMBs, including cloud backup and disaster recovery, said it plays a significant role in helping its channel partners with the setup and migration to a new environment. One feature that isn't widely known about the Carbonite tool is that its server backup platform is a hybrid-based technology, so it offers both cloud and local backups, which is key during the migration process.

"All of that data needs to be safe and secure and backed up before you start the process of the migration," said Maffei. "You then need to execute the migration seamlessly and successfully and be able to remediate and find where there were gaps in the migration."

Maffei points to Gartner estimates that close to 8 million of the 25 million installations of Windows Server 2003 have not been upgraded yet. This means 20 percent of them will be unmigrated by the time of end of life, which is a sizable number of SMBs that will be left very exposed, he said.

While Maffei believes the numbers are conservative, he said channel partners have an opportunity to be a strategic advisor. "Our channel partners need to pay extra attention across the spectrum of their customers to ensure that they aren't just porting over the highest revenue ones [using the 80/20 rule] or most progressive ones but the laggards in terms of adopting new technology because those are the ones who are going to be most at risk as this product goes EOL," said Maffei. "It's that small customer that you're not thinking of that you put at the end of the migration list that could end up hurting you the most if they have a problem."

Gina Roos, a Channel Insider contributor, focuses on technology and the channel.