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Microsoft Corporation has announced it will end support for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Servers 2003 R2 on July 14, 2015 as it seeks to keep up with rapid technological advancements in recent times.

The firm has advised its clients to start migrating to other superior platforms in order to benefit from improved performance, higher reliability and increased flexibility in responding to business needs.

Microsoft’s Business Group Director for Server and Tools in Sub-Sharan Africa, Dele Akinsade says that a technology revolution has taken place since the product was released 12 years ago.

“The landscape in the industry has since changed. Even our phones today have better hardware specs than that for the Server 2003,” he said.

End of support means that businesses that will continue to use the outdated server will be susceptible to significant security risks and may be liable to costly compliance violations.

This is because Microsoft will no longer issue security updates for any version of the 2003 server or patches. For example, in 2014 over 20 crucial security vulnerabilities were detected and addressed.

A single unpatched server puts the firm’s entire infrastructure at risk and virtualizing instances or running them in cloud does not eliminate the risk.

Firms have the options of migrating to Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure or Office 365, depending on their specific requirements.

“If you are developing applications using outdated operating system, you are not taking advantage of new innovations and advancements in technology,” added Mr Akinsade.

Microsoft will continue to provide guidance and tools to customers locally through their partners to help them identify third party solutions that will aid the process.  Activities to support Microsoft’s broad ecosystem of partners, including system integrators and software vendors are on-going.

Dimensions Data East Africa, Practice lead, Hasmukh Chudasama said they were working closely with Microsoft to add significant business value to their customers

“By helping our mutual customers make the transition, Dimension Data is opening the doors for them to protect their environments, use virtualization to reduce server sprawl, take advantage of hybrid and public cloud options for their application, and reduce IT burden with Office 365 and other services. ” he added .