If you were working in IT in 1999, you spent quite a bit of time thinking about the Y2K problem. The Y2K letdown (all that disaster prep, no huge disaster) lead many to start thinking of foreseeable wide scale IT problems like Windows Server 2003 EOL as “chicken little” problems.

A “chicken little” problem is one where one group of people make one or more claims that “the sky is falling”. Or, in the case of Y2K, that ATMs would stop working, Airplanes wouldn’t start up, and that civilization would fall into a new dark age.

After chicken little’s claims of a coming disaster don’t exactly pan out, people start ignoring chicken little’s future prognostication.

I think we see this today with Windows Server 2003 EOL. People are certainly aware that Windows Server 2003 EOL is coming along. The ones that haven’t migrated just don’t think it is a dire problem.

It’s a bit like Windows XP end of life. According to StatCounter 7.5% of computers are still running Windows XP almost 12 months after support ended for that operating system.

Systems administration is often a process of putting off the problems that you don’t have to immediately deal with so that you can deal with the problems you must immediately deal with. Computers running Windows Server 2003 will continue to run after the deadline expires, which makes it for many organization something that they don’t need to immediately deal with. They realize that at some point they will need to do something about it – but just not right now.

We can shout at them that they should deal with it right now, but like the shouting around the Y2K and XP end of support problem, we will probably come of sounding a bit like chicken little.