Windows Server 2003 end of life a defining channel moment

The channel should grasp the end of life for Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 and encourage users to make the move to a hosted alternative

The end of support for Windows Server 2003 should be grasped as an opportunity for resellers to encourage customers to use the upgrade transition to make moves into the cloud.

With Microsoft pulling support from 14 July next year there is an opportunity for channel partners to pitch an alternative version of the future that involves helping the customer start using hosted tools to manage their server estate.

At the same time it also gives the reseller an opportunity to grow their own managed services business, as customers that have been using traditional on-site support move to a hosted environment.

Andy Burton, chief revenue officer at managed server appliance specialist Zynstra and former chairman of the Cloud Industry Forum, said that a large number of customers made a move to a hosted infrastructure when forced to evaluate their options because of an upgrade.

He described the transition forced by the end of Server 2003 support as a "defining moment" for the channel and urged those planning to develop their managed services business to start talking to customers about that journey now.

"You can either do a natural capex refresh or use this opportunity to move the customer to transition the business as a service and partners can start to migrate their user base," he added "It will be a defining moment for the channel to grasp this opportunity."

Just as recently with Windows XP once support for Server 2003 is wound down by Microsoft the patches and security updates will cease and customers using the platform will find themselves exposed to an increasing amount of risk and compliance problems.

Microsoft has already warned users that sticking with Server 2003 could lead to 'performance bottlenecks' but some industry watchers believe that could be the least of the potential problems.

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