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Avanade finds Windows Server 2003 exodus fraught with issues

April 22, 2015  

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With less than 100 days until the end of support for Microsoft Windows Server 2003, new research shows that more than half (57%) of U.S. and Canadian businesses are still running at least a portion of their business on the platform. The study also shows that most organizations are evaluating a cloud based approach for their migration with 93% of enterprises surveyed considering moving a portion of their applications to the cloud.

The study, commissioned by technology, cloud and managed services provider Avanade reveals that across Canada and the U.S., companies have completed less than half of the migrations for their business critical applications from Windows Server 2003. With a looming July 2015 deadline, the majority of North American businesses are struggling to rewrite or modernize applications in order to successfully migrate off Windows Server 2003. And, one in 10 organizations cited that more than half of their applications need to be rewritten or modernized.

“The good news is that many CIOs are using the end of support deadline as an opportunity to leverage cloud-based solutions to modernize their infrastructure and create a more agile environment for future migrations,” said Rich Stern, corporate vice president, Infrastructure Services global lead, Avanade. “Interestingly, among this group, half of the respondents said they are looking to a hybrid platform of both public and private clouds.”

While 51% of respondents say they plan to complete their migration before the July deadline, the reality is that companies are barely halfway done with migrating applications away from Windows Server 2003. When asked  what percentage has been migrated already, U.S. and Canadian businesses averaged just below 40% of applications that had been migrated. For IT decision-makers tasked with driving this migration, they are faced with striking a difficult balance of migrating quickly without disrupting the business. Top challenges cited by U.S. and Canadian respondents included:

  • Concerns about disrupting the business (72%)
  • Other projects are taking priority (68%)
  • Process is taking much longer than expected (64%)
  • Resource costs are too high (43%)

Upwards of 80% of respondents said that business and IT priorities are aligned on the end of support for Windows Server 2003. However, the data clearly shows that more than two-thirds of respondents believe other projects are taking priority.

“This conflicting view of priorities is putting many North American businesses in jeopardy of missing the migration deadline,” said Stern. “With three months until the July 14 date, it’s important to remember the lessons learned from the end of support of Windows XP when some companies waited too late to upgrade before the deadline.”

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