Most people reading this article will be aware that in just 6 months’ time Microsoft will officially end support for Microsoft Server 2003. Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella stated at a conference in 2014 that around 22 million installations of server 2003 / 2003 R2 are in use across the planet!

Businesses still running Server 2003 need to consider the business case for upgrading their server to 2012 because unlike previous support deadlines, Microsoft will not be extending support for 2003.

Some business owners will be reluctant to spend money replacing 2003, many with an “if it’s not broken – don’t fix it” attitude. Unfortunately 2003 will be broken as soon as Microsoft stop releasing patches to keep it secure and reliable.

Server 2008 is another widely used Server operating system that is installed on most server hardware over 3 years old. Although 2008 will have Microsoft support until 2018, the hardware it’s running on is likely to be getting old.

During this time when many business are considering server upgrades we’ve put together our 5 top reasons to upgrade to Microsoft’s latest Server 2012 operating systems. Server 2012 has over 300 new features and has been designed for modern office environment.

It comes in 4 editions: Foundation, Essentials, Standard and Datacenter:

WindowsServer2012R2Editions
Our top 5 reasons to upgrade to Server 2012 include:

1. Server 2012 Virtualisation

Virtualisation allows multiple computers to run on one physical machine. Before virtualisation businesses needing more than one server would have spent money on multiple hardware, licensing, and power. Virtualisation offers a scalable, cost effective and environmentally friendly option.

Hyper V which is the virtualisation feature in Windows Server has been vastly improved since Server 2008. 1 licensed copy of Microsoft Server 2012 Standard edition allows Server 2012 to run on the physical hardware and on 2 virtual servers.

Small businesses now have all the virtualisation features they need built into the server OS and no longer need to purchase third party virtualisation software such as VMWare.

2. End of Support

Server 2003 will not be supported after the 14th July 2015 and must be upgraded or replaced. Failure to do so will bring security risks to your business.

Most auditors and financial regulators including the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) will fail customers running Server 2003.

Updates for line of business applications such as accountancy software, CRM’s and databases will no longer support Server 2003 and will force customers to use 2008 or 2012.

Some businesses may want to leave upgrading until Microsoft announces its new Server OS but that release date is currently unknown. New Server OS’s often come with driver and software compatibility issues and its worth waiting for them to be tested in the wild before rolling out in small business environments.

3. Cloud Enabled Server 2012

Microsoft claims Server 2012 is the first cloud OS. The architecture of the software has been designed with cloud services in mind. Key enhancements have been made to include disaster recovery technologies.

cloud computing

Some of the main Server 2012 cloud enabled benefits include;

Office 365 and Azure Integration – Data can be protected by using cloud based backups to Azures highly secure offsite datacentres. Server user accounts and passwords can be automatically synchronised with Office 365

Live-migration – which allows the transfer of a virtual machine from 1 physical server to another, whether that be on the same local network or across the internet

My Server App – Allows light administration and remote access to files and folders from an easy to use Windows 8 app

4. New Modern Day Features

Over the past decade every aspect of Server 2003 has been improved. Technology and the way we use it has changed massively in the past 10 years. Businesses now expect staff to be able to work from anywhere using a range of devices. Server 2012 has been developed for just that.

Some of these new and improved features are;

Work Folders – This feature is similar to Dropbox whereby users can synchronize folders from file servers to their devices. It’s secure, built into the operating system and free from subscription charges associated to third party services such as Dropbox

Workplace Join – In a world of Bring Your Own Device to work where staff are often encouraged to use their own computers and tablets. Workplace join provides a secure and easy way for devices to authenticate with company servers

Remote Desktop Services – RDS formerly Terminal Server has been enhanced in a number of areas and is now based on RemoteFX. It works with a range of clients including Apple iOS, Mac OSX, Android etc. The security, compression and bandwidth have been improved to ensure a faster more resilient connection.

5. Replace Old Hardware

Chances are that if you’re running Microsoft Server 2003, the hardware it’s on is close to 10 years old! Businesses should plan to replace server hardware every 5 years before performance or reliability issues occur.  If you’re running Server 2008 the hardware is likely to be over 4 years old.

server 2012 upgrade
Replacing old servers with new hardware will increase the performance and reliability of an IT infrastructure. Staff will be more productive without interruptions from slow and unpredictable server hardware and software.

New servers come with manufacturer hardware warranties that offer piece of mind and security in the event of future issues.

For more information read Microsoft’s 5 reasons to upgrade your server which highlights further reasons to upgrade.

Whether your business is running Server 2003 and being forced to upgrade or running Server 2008 on old hardware or just interested in the new features of Server 2012, Fentons are here to help. Contact our IT support team for advice on your companies requirements.