The end of life of the Microsoft 2003 suites

Door: Marc Stuifzand

Most people will hopefully know by now that Windows XP will reach the end of its support lifecycle on April 8, 2014 and that security or online updates will no longer be provided by Microsoft as of the same date. But with all the noise about Windows XP reaching the end of its lifecycle, companies might overlook a few other products that will go off stage as a part of the Microsoft support lifecycle policy.

April 8, 2014 also marks the end of the 10-year support period of the Office 2003 products and Exchange Server 2003.

SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 are approaching the end of mainstream support and will enter extended support on July 8, 2014.

Although systems will continue to function with the all support gone, companies should consider the potential security risks and factor in the cost of maintaining unsupported platforms for their business. If you are currently using Windows XP, Office 2003 or Exchange Server 2003, now is a good time to look at your upgrade options to be prepared for what lies ahead.

One upgrade scenarios could be a subscription to Office 365 to replace the old onsite Exchange server instead of upgrading to the latest version of Exchange on premises and choose a classic upgrade path to upgrade Windows XP clients to Windows 8 or try a different approach… e.g. move to Apple hardware with OSX to replace old Windows XP hardware or start using Google Apps instead of upgrading to the latest Microsoft Office professional edition to attract young talent. Whatever you decide to do, choose the licenses which are best for the business and the end-users. Avoid buying functionalities you are not going to use. Ask yourself the question if everyone within the company really needs to have back-end integration and be able to make Pivot tables in Excel or is this only required by the finance or marketing department? The answer to that simple question could save your company a lot of money 🙂

And next year? On July 14th 2015, security patches and hotfixes for all versions of Windows Server 2003 will no longer be available.
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