Preparing for Server 2003 End of Life by Migrating to Microsoft Azure

By Aaron Saposnik| January 14, 2015

Do you still have a number of Server 2003 systems that need to be upgraded in your environment? Are you lacking the adequate computing or storage resources to make this a reality? Microsoft Azure may be a quick and easy way to get your systems up to date without having to purchase additional hardware. Read my blog on preparing for Server 2003 end of life by migrating to Microsoft Azure to learn more.

In July of 2015, Server 2003 will no longer be supported by Microsoft. Many organizations still have systems running on the Server 2003 operating system and will need plan an upgrade path, however upgrading from Server 2003 to a newer operating systems can be difficult because most Server 2003 systems are running a 32-bit architecture. Server 2008 R2 and later require a 64-bit architecture. Therefore an upgrade may require a full reinstallation and most organizations do not have the resources (or the licensing) to perform this upgrade. Microsoft Azure may be an easy and quick way to get your systems up to date.

Microsoft Azure is Microsoft’s cloud platform for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). The platform provides an alternative environment for new servers and offers a number of operating system options including Server 2012 R2. One of the many benefits of moving to a cloud environment like Azure, is that you no longer have to worry about installing and patching the operating system, Azure takes care of this for you and each of the virtual machines can be customized with an appropriate amount of compute and storage resources, so that you only pay for what you use on a monthly basis without the need to purchase expensive on-premises hardware. All operating system licensing is also included, eliminating the need for a license upgrade or new license purchase. And if you need to upgrade some of your applications such as SQL, that licensing can also be included in your monthly Azure cost.

Another one of Azure’s benefits is it’s a high speed Internet connection to allow for easy communication to and from your servers. For a secure link to your on-premises environment, it is possible to setup an IPsec point-to-point tunnel between any business class firewall and Azure. For remote users, Azure also provides a VPN application for easy access from anywhere. Using these tools Azure can easily act as your remote datacenter allowing you to quickly and easily setup new servers and run your old 2003 systems side by side with your new 2012 servers.

What if down the road you need to bring some of these systems back onsite? Azure makes it easy! You can simply migrate the virtual hard disk out of Azure and restart the virtual machine in your onsite Hyper-V cluster. Similarly, as your hardware ages it is very easy to migrate virtual machines from your on-premises Hyper-V into Azure to reduce your hardware footprint.

Our goal at BDO Digital is to be your partner, helping you find the right cloud solutions to match your business need and grow your organization. We work with a number of cloud vendors to ensure that we can find the right fit. BDO Digital's team has extensive technical backgrounds and know many of the requirements necessary to consider when moving applications and systems to the cloud, including when moving to the cloud is not recommended. We apply that cloud expertise to your environment.

Leveraging opportunities in the cloud