Microsoft has announced the official date for the end of life of Windows Server 2003 support as 14 July 2015. Although there are many schools who are aware of this and who have moved to new technologies, there are still a large number of you using this server platform in conjunction with CC4.

What does this mean to you?

After 14 July, Microsoft will no longer issue security updates for Windows Server 2003 operating systems and support will cease. In practice, the end of support from Microsoft means no new security updates to the product and, without support, no further product updates for critical systems like anti-virus and network management tools. This will mean that you will not receive support from Microsoft on any network issues from this date and your network will be vulnerable to security threats.

In 2013, Microsoft released a total of 37 critical updates, security updates and hotfixes across their server platforms to keep the system stable and secure. The critical updates this year included a number of vulnerabilities that place servers at risk from remote execution from both inside and outside of your school.

At RM Education, we will be continuing to support customers with Windows Server 2003 on a reasonable-endeavours basis up until 1 November this year to ensure a smooth transition for those upgrading or migrating.

What are the options?

1. Stay with Windows Server 2003

Sticking with your current hardware and server platform is very high risk and we strongly recommend that you transition to a more recent server operating system. By staying on Windows Server 2003 you will be more vulnerable to security issues and malicious attacks both from inside and outside of your school. In addition, if you experience issues on your network, your school won’t be able to receive support to get your systems back up and running, which could mean a lengthy period of unavailability of the systems that support teaching and learning in the classroom.

2. Upgrade your server

You can upgrade your server platform on your existing hardware. This would mean updating your server operating system to a newer, supported version and ensuring that you’re protected against the latest security threats.

The age of your server hardware will determine if this route is best for you, but if you are unsure then we can help.

Windows Server 2012 R2 is a 64-bit operating system, which provides significantly increased scalability, but may not install correctly on some older hardware platforms. Migration from Windows 2003 Server to Windows Server 2012 R2 is not as simple as upgrading from disk. RM Education’s specialised migration services ensure this complex process is error free and retains your valuable configuration, user accounts and user data. Please get in touch to discuss the migration options which are best for you.

3. Virtualise your servers

If you are currently using multiple physical servers, then the move to Windows Server 2012 R2 may be the perfect opportunity to gain the benefits of server virtualisation, which, when combined with Windows Server 2012 R2, can increase the availability and flexibility of your critical server infrastructure. RM Education’s specialised migration services personnel are also experts in making the transition to virtualisation.

4. Switch things around

If you are considering alternative devices in your network, then you may wish to consider a different way of delivering the Windows software that teachers and learners are familiar with. A new Windows 2012 R2 CC4 server and CC4 Anywhere can really change the way you access your software and resources. A new Windows Server 2012 R2 with RM Unify is the perfect way to start using the massive range of free and low-cost cloud services, such as Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Education.

Whatever route you decide, RM Education has tried and tested migration paths for Windows Server 2012 R2 to fit small and large schools alike. You won’t lose anything – our migration process keeps all of your valuable customisation and data.

Start your planning and migration today. Call us on 0800 046 9798 or visit www.rm.com/networks

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