Windows Server 2003 end-of-life presents a $100bn opportunity

Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2003

Windows Server 2003 is heading towards its end of life (EOL) this coming July, yet a new study shows that just a small fraction of users have already migrated to a new solution and some don't even plan to move at all.

Spiceworks, the professional IT network, reports that 61% of the companies on its network still have at least one instance of Windows Server 2003 running within their company environment which means there are potentially still millions of installations out there.

This presents a significant opportunity to providers hoping to help companies migrate to a new platform. A report titled "The Great IT Upgrade" points out that on average companies have set aside £40,000 (approximately $59,500, or AU$76,800) to be used in migration-related projects. When scaled up, this amounts to a $100 billion (approximately £67 billion, or AU$129 billion) opportunity for hardware and software suppliers, cloud solution providers and companies providing associated services.

"IT professionals are taking steps to migrate prior to the end of life deadline and technology companies who can offer a clear, elegant migration path have a multi-billion dollar opportunity to help IT departments transition effectively," said Sanjay Castelino, VP of Marketing at Spiceworks.

Why not upgrade?

Of those still running Windows Server 2003, just 8% have no plans to migrate at all, and the reasons given for this were concerns about the security viability of updated solutions (85%), software compatibility (72%), and compliance risks (66%).

For companies that are moving away from Windows Server 2003, 64% surveyed plan to migrate to Windows Server 2012 R2. Virtualised environments are also popular, and almost three-quarters will be taking some, if not all, of their applications running on Windows Server 2003 into the virtual space.

At the last check, in November, there were between 2.6 million and 11 million global installations of Windows Server 2003 still in the wild and the situation is beginning to mirror that of Windows XP when millions of copies were still installed in the lead up to its EOL in April 2014.