Over the years, the operating system has been replaced by Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2, yet some organisations continue to run the old server operating system.
If your organisation still runs Windows Server 2003, you should migrate to a new server operating system now.
Unlike Windows XP, where there were application migration challenges, Windows Server 2012 R2 offers relatively good application compatibility with Windows Server 2003. In technical terms, although the new system is delivered as a 64-bit operating system, most 32-bit applications that have no 16-bit code segments should install and run on it through Windows on Windows 64 (WoW64) technology.
The security risks to not upgrading before Microsoft support ceases are outlined below, but we should add that Windows Server 2012 R2 also features many improvements compared with the old system including integrated virtualisation, extensive scalability, new operational roles and script execution capabilities.
We advise against making an interim upgrade to Windows Server 2008 as mainstream support for that had already been discontinued, in fact before Windows Server 2003.
Risks of not migrating
Full information and advice from Microsoft about migrating from Windows Server 2013 can be found on Microsoft’s website, here.