Flip Phones and Windows Server 2003 - the same era.

It’s 2003. The new Millenium has just begin. iTunes is launched, fresh on the back of new and popular iPod. The Human Genome project is completed. The Iraq War begins despite millions of worldwide protests. Beijing schools are closed over fear of SARS. And as if things couldn’t get any worse, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates.

For those of us who remember it, it was a very turbulent year. And it was at that time, 13 years ago, that Windows Server 2003 was released. It was a cutting edge product ready to succeed Windows Server 2000. It had features that would be incorporated into the wildly unpopular Windows Vista (a disaster which had yet to occur).

We were still using flip-phones. The concept of a smartphone—let alone wi-fi, cloud connectivity and social networking—were all science fiction. If you were lucky, you would use DSL to download a cheap ringtone that sounded like an 8-bit video game. This is the age that Windows Server 2003 belongs to. An age where USB drives with 16MB of storage were cutting edge. And now, that once cutting edge software is a massive business risk.

Why Windows Server 2003 Is Bad For Your Business

Most people know that Windows Server 2003 reached it’s End-of-Life (EOL) last year, yet they’re still hanging onto this software relic. In a way, I get it. I love my old shirts and hate to throw them out, even when they’re obviously falling apart. That said, I’ve written about how using an EOL product is like drinking milk that has passed it’s expiry date—very not advisable.

Windows Server 2003 is like old milk.

Old Milk OS: Chuck it out, dude. It’s expired!

A 32-bit OS in a 64-bit age

Windows Server 2003 was made back when 32-bit was the only place to be. These days, virtually all drivers and apps are 64-bit, which means this OS is incompatible with just about everything. An OS that isn’t compatible with apps and drivers is fairly pointless, since the whole point of an OS is to run apps and drivers.

Increased Power Costs On Your Revenue

In 2003, server vendors hadn’t really gotten into power management—so chances are your server is chewing up electricity like nobody’s business—inefficient and unvirtualized. What money you save by not switching to a new server OS is likely being devoured by your electricity bill instead.

Needless to say, running a sub-par system that incurs an ongoing cost isn’t exactly great for either your overhead costs or your business productivity.

High Chance of Hardware Failure

The thing is, running Windows Server 2003 isn’t just a software issue—it’s a hardware one too. If you’re running such an old server OS, chances are your hardware is either a decade old or older. That means it’s not supported by the vendor and operating well beyond its operational life.

Translation? Your hardware is overdue to fail, and when it does, good luck getting replacement parts. Apart from any data loss you incur from server hardware failure, you’ll be scrounging off eBay for some overpriced piece of second-hand hardware to keep your patchwork server running. You know, assuming you can get your hands on it.

iPod and Windows Server 2003

Age of the iPod: When Windows Server 2003 came out, we’d just figured out we didn’t need to carry Diskmans.

Data Breeches and Security Risks

Whenever you run a highly popular OS for a very long time, it gives hackers an equally long time to discover and exploit its vulnerabilities. Usually some of this risk is mitigated by OS updates by Microsoft; these patches plug up these software holes so hackers and malware can’t sneak through.

Once the OS reaches its EOL, these updates stop. It’s like the police has left down, so they can come in and do what they please. It’s well known that they deliberately seek out companies that leave themselves open with this sort of vulnerability, and being a small or medium business is no insulation against this sort of (often automated) threat.

Low Software Support

When you’re running a dated OS that even the original creators won’t support—one stuck back in 2003—it’s natural that third-party software manufacturers won’t be running to its defense. The userbase for such an old product dwindles, much like people still using Windows 95 or 98. How many great software makers are still making products for such outdated mediums?

The Present Offers Greater Functionality!

Windows Server 2003 back to the future

There’s countless things that we have in 2016 that we couldn’t have imagined of when Windows Server 2003 was made, all of which increases your business’s efficiency and functionality.

Take the release of Windows Server 2016 as a big wake up call. Ditch that outdated server software and bring your server software to the present, Marty McFly style.

And while you’re at it, get some new Backup and Disaster Recovery software too. If you’re looking for a cost-effective and reliable solution for your Windows Servers, we highly recommend BackupAssist. Download the 30-day free trial.

Posted by Adam Ipsen

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