Migration Procrastination

I was teaching a desktop OS deployment course a few weeks back to students from some large organizations. Each organization still had a large number of XP desktops that they were intending to migrate away from. Even though the deadline for support passed several months ago, none of the organizations expected to have finished migrating from XP by the end of the year.

I asked each student if they still had servers running Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2003 R2 in their environment. They all answered yes. I asked when they were going to start planning a migration away from Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2003 R2, especially as there was about 12 months left on the support clock for that operating system. The answer was that they weren’t going to start even looking at migrating from Server 2003/2003 R2 until they’d migrated from Windows XP.

I suspect that the procrastination about migrating off Windows XP will impact migrations away from Windows Server 2003, simply because organizations that haven’t done the first are unlikely to have started the second. If you’re in an organization that has completed their migration away from Windows XP and you do still have Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2 deployed, now is the time to start moving on it, not 12 months from now when the support clock runs out.

On the opening day of WPC, Microsoft said that they estimated there were still 20 million servers running Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2003 R2. As much as it would be wonderful to have all of those servers migrated away by the end of support date, now less than a year away, if the Windows XP experience is anything to go by, I bet there are somewhere between 5-7 million servers still deployed running the OS by the time Microsoft turns off the patch tap.

If you're interested in finding out more about migrating away from Windows Server 2003, my mates Macca and Kyle are doing a jumpstart for Microsoft which you can find out about here.

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IT pro Orin Thomas provides true tales, snafus, news, and urban legends for Microsoft Windows system administrators.

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Orin Thomas

Orin Thomas is a contributing editor for Windows IT Pro and a Windows Security MVP. He has authored or coauthored more than thirty books for Microsoft Press, founded the Melbourne System Center,...
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