WIN­DOWS SERVER 2003 DIES, SO­LU­TION PROVIDERS...

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Af­ter experiencing its golden times, Win­dows Server 2003 will reach End of Life...

Af­ter experiencing its golden times, Win­dows Server 2003 will reach End of Life (EOL) on July 14, 2015. With less than 100 days re­main­ing, Mi­crosoft has asked those or­ga­ni­za­tions who are still run­ning le­gacy servers to up­grade to higher ver­sions. Though it is an ex­pected end of a popular op­er­at­ing sys­tem, it has brought nu­mer­ous busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for sys­tem in­te­gra­tors and so­lu­tion providers.

WHAT DOES EOL MEAN?

As al­ready an­nounced in 2013, Mi­crosoft will end sup­port for Win­dows Server 2003 op­er­at­ing sys­tem on July 14, 2015. It sim­ply means that the prod­uct will no longer re­ceive se­cu­rity patches that help pro­tect sys­tems from harm­ful viruses, spy­ware, and other ma­li­cious soft­ware. With the end of life, there will be no more sup­port for ap­pli­ca­tions or pro­grams, and it will cause non­com­pli­ance with ex­ist­ing se­cu­rity and reg­u­la­tory norms. The IT gi­ant will no longer pro­vide au­to­matic fixes, up­dates, or on­line tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance.

IM­PLI­CA­TIONS OF NO UP GRA­DA­TION Or­ga­ni­za­tions run­ning their sys­tems on un­sup­ported soft­ware will be ex­posed to cy­ber se­cu­rity risk and it may lead to loss of con­fi­den­tial data. Users may also en­counter prob­lems with soft­ware and hard­ware com­pat­i­bil­ity. En­ter­prises that are gov­erned by reg­u­la­tory obligations may find they are no longer able to sat­isfy com­pli­ance re­quire­ments while run­ning Win­dows Server 2003.

Cy­ber se­cu­rity ex­perts have warned that by not mi­grat­ing to up­graded plat­forms, en­ter­prises would com­pro­mise their se­cu­rity and it would have per­ilous ef­fects on the busi­ness op­er­a­tions. The Com­puter Emer­gency Re­sponse Team-In­dia (CERT-In), nodal agency re­spon­si­ble for com­bat­ing cy­ber at­tacks has alerted users of ‘Win­dows 2003’ to ei­ther mi­grate or ap­ply ap­pro­pri­ate se­cu­rity so­lu­tions.

“It is rec­om­mended that all users and or­gan­i­sa­tions us­ing Win­dows Server-2003 in their en­vi­ron­ment should look for soft­ware ven­dors and ser­vice providers who of­fer as­sis­tance in mi­grat­ing from Win­dows Server-2003 to a sup­ported op­er­at­ing sys­tem or a cloud­based ser­vice,” the Com­puter Emer­gency Re­sponse Team-In­dia (CERT-In) said in its lat­est ad­vi­sory.

NO OP­TION BUT MI­GRATE

With the end of Win­dows Server 2003, en­ter­prises have an op­por­tu­nity to mod­ern­ize their busi­ness with Win­dows Server 2012 and Mi­crosoft Azure for im­proved pro­duc­tiv­ity and op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency. High­light­ing the benefits of lat­est plat­forms of­fered by Mi­crosoft Satabdee Hait, Part­ner Tech­ni­cal Spe­cial­ist in Mi­crosoft says that by not mi­grat­ing com­pa­nies not only put se­cu­rity in dan­ger but also miss out some of the won­der­ful fea­tures and of­fer­ings.

“If any or­ga­ni­za­tion is still run­ning Win­dows Server 2003 in its data cen­ter, they need to take steps to plan and ex­e­cute a migration strat­egy to pro­tect its in­fra­struc­ture. By mi­grat­ing to Win­dows Server 2012 R2, Mi­crosoft Azure or Of­fice 365, it can achieve con­crete benefits, in­clud­ing im­proved per­for­mance, re­duced main­te­nance re­quire­ments, and in­creased agility and speed of re­sponse to the busi­ness”, Hait says.

Ac­cord­ing to Mi­crosoft, Win­dows Server 2012 is li­censed purely on vir­tu­al­i­sa­tions or the CPUs. There are 15 top fea­tures in Win­dows Server 2012 not avail­able in Win­dows Server 2003 and par­tially avail­able in Win­dows Server 2008.

ROLE OF SPs AND SIs

Sys­tem in­te­gra­tors and So­lu­tion providers play cru­cial role in the migration. In fact, they are driv­ing the en­tire migration process world­wide. Apart from earn­ing rev­enues from ser­vices and ex­per­tise they of­fer, SIs can be­come crit­i­cal to guide the or­gan­i­sa­tions in de­ploy­ment of ap­pro­pri­ate IT in­fra­struc­ture to in­crease busi­ness pro­duc­tiv­ity.

Prashanth Subra­ma­nian, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Ban­ga­lore based Quadrasys­tems.net In­dia says that en­ter­prises have no op­tion but to mi­grate and it has pro­vided a lot of busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties to the so­lu­tion providers.

“There are mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties for so­lu­tions providers not only dur­ing the migration process but post migration as well. SP will play very crit­i­cal role to help the client to choose right plat­form depend­ing upon his set up and the kind of ap­pli­ca­tions he runs. Our ex­per­tise will help our clients to take right de­ci­sions,” he says.

Suresh Ra­mani, CMD of Mumbai based Tech­gyan says that SPs should spend enough time with their clients, un­der­stand their needs and ac­cord­ingly of­fer best so­lu­tion. He says that SMB is the crit­i­cal area where part­ners play very cru­cial role in ac­tu­ally tak­ing the en­ter­prises to the new plat­forms.

“We need to spend enough time and chalk out the plan with best ser­vice of­fer­ings,” he said.

MAN­AGE SER­VICES TO FETCH REV­ENUE

Vimesh Avlani, CEO of Graftron­ics says that Mi­crosoft has pro­vided tools that as­sist the SIs con­duct the migration in or­derly man­ner. He says that there are sev­eral as­so­ci­ated ser­vices that may fetch good rev­enues for part­ners and help them to grow their busi­ness.

“Part­ners are best to tell what to move and what not to move and for that they have var­i­ous tools pro­vided by the com­pany. Part­ners may make lit­tle money on li­cence but more money on man­aged ser­vices. They can also earn re­cur­ring rev­enue in back up ser­vice like Azure back up ser­vices,” Avlani says.

“Mi­crosoft has al­ready taken steps to ed­u­cate peo­ple. Now it is a time for part­ners to trans­late op­por­tu­nity into prof­itabil­ity,” he adds.

Arvind Singh, owner of Maxnet Com­put­ers says the earn­ings for SIs starts from in­stal­la­tions con­fig­u­ra­tions of ap­pli­ca­tions to con­sul­ta­tions and so on. Part­ners need to demon­strate their ex­per­tise by giv­ing best so­lu­tions to their clients.

The way ahead

SPs and SIs are the ex­tended arms of any big IT gi­ants to ac­tu­ally take the so­lu­tions to the cus­tomers. In case of migration from Win­dows Server 2003, they have got am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties. How­ever, it would be in­ter­est­ing to see how they trans­late op­por­tu­ni­ties into prof­itabil­ity and their re­spec­tive busi­nesses.

“There are mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties for so­lu­tions providers not only dur­ing the migration process but post migration as well” PRASHANTH SUBRA­MA­NIAN, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor, Ban­ga­lore based Quadrasys­tems.net “Part­ners are best to tell what to move and what not to move and for that they have var­i­ous tools pro­vided by the com­pany” VIMESH AVLANI, CEO, Graftron­ics “We need to spend enough time and chalk out the plan with best ser­vice of­fer­ings” SURESH RA­MANI, CMD, Tech­gyan

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