On July 14, 2015 Microsoft support for Windows Server 2003 will draw to a close. So what, exactly, does this mean? Essentially, there will be no patches or new security updates for the estimated ten million machines running on Windows Server 2003 beyond this date, potentially putting your applications at risk.
While this date is well over a year away, there are several things you should do to prepare if you are still using a Windows Server 2003 system. There are individuals who may still need to run Windows Server 2003 beyond this date (for example, those who are running software applications that will only run on Windows Server 2003). Whatever the specific reason, if you will be running Windows Server 2003 past the July 14, 2015 end of support date there are several things you will want to do to prepare.
Monitor and shield servers. Because there aren’t going to be any more security updates, machines running on Windows Server 2003 will be much more susceptible to threats. In order to keep your servers safe and secure you are going to need to dedicate extra resources to security. This means installing anti virus protection and running scans with more regularity, as well monitoring the overall health of your system.
Create a performance baseline. Basically, you are going to want to create a performance baseline and check regularly to make sure everything is going well. This is pretty easy to do and it can help to prevent a catastrophe. To create this baseline you can use System Monitor in Windows Server 2003 to create a chart. The chart can be created in real time or based on a performance log file. However it is recommended you use data from a log file to create your chart, because this allows you to record statistics for an extended period. Data monitored should include memory (pages per second), network interface (bytes total per second), physical disk (disk transfers per second), and SQLServer factors.
Review upgrade options. It might be a good idea upgrade your system before support totally expires. There are traditional methods of modernizing applications, including reinstalling, upgrading the machine, or rebuilding, however these often tend to be complex, time intensive, and expensive. If feasible, you might want to simply migrate information to a new system all together.
Watch out for performance bottlenecks. All in all, Windows Server 2003 is running pretty stably. However, it is important to note that some 3rd-party applications today do consume very large amounts of this paged-pool or non-paged-pool memory (this is part because this kind of memory is very limited on x86 systems). Both types of memory serve as the memory resources that the operating system and device drivers use to store their data structures. If this kind memory runs out, it is highly problematic. You are going to want to check the amount of paged- or non-paged pool memory available on a system to make sure things are running well and that the system can accommodate a peak load.