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Windows Server 2003 support is ending July 14, 2015

Microsoft issued support deadlines for Windows Server 2003.  Microsoft will discontinue Server 2003 R2 in under one year, July 14, 2015.  Server migrations require planning and careful consideration.  The change from 2003 to 2012 is drastic and there will be compatibility issues with older software.

Server 2003 accounts for 20% of total Windows Server installations and will be down to 10% by the end of 2014.  If compatibility is an issue, there is a solution to that.  You can run Server 2003 in a virtual container on a physical Server 2012 system box.

Here are four considerations when planning your migration from Server 2003 to Server 2012.


  • Step 1: Network Discovery. Determine which applications and workloads are running on Windows Server 2003 today.  Check with manufacturers to see if software is upgradable to a server 2012 environment and what are your business goals and needs today.


  • Step 2: Infrastructure Assessment. Categorize applications and workloads by type, importance, and degree of complexity. How does your business run and what is needed to become more efficient.


  • Step 3: Date Target: Choose a migration date.  Determine what will be the destination for each application and workload. Onsite or cloud? Exchange or Microsoft 365?


  • Step 4: Migration: Build an effective migration plan. You can have your internal IT Support team do it, collaborate with a Managed IT Services (MSP) provider, or use an IT consulting firm.


Available Resources from Microsoft:

  1. Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit            

This toolkit allows you to assess your current IT infrastructure for a variety of technology migration projects. This Solution Accelerator provides a powerful inventory, assessment, and reporting tool to simplify the migration planning process.


  1. Upgrading Skills to Windows Server 2012 Jump Start

Here is an accelerated certification program that helps IT Pros with their Windows Server 2008 certification to upgrade their skills to Windows Server 2012 in preparation for Exam 70-417 which supports several certifications including MCSA: Windows Server 2012; and MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure, MCSE: Server Infrastructure, and MCSE: Private Cloud.


  1. Windows Server 2012 available at the following based on business type.

If you are looking for a free trial of Server 2012, please see the link below.  Also, nonprofits and charities receive preferred pricing through Tech Soup Canada.

Business          – 

Nonprofit       – 


  1. Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

This tool provides a unified collection of tools, processes, and guidance. It reduces deployment time and standardizing desktop and server images as well as improved security and management.


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