Microsoft Windows 2003 End of Life: Upgrade AD

By Rajat Bhargava Posted May 22, 2015

windows 2003 end of life

Microsoft has decided to end of life Microsoft Windows® 2003 Server® on July 14th, 2015. Microsoft will no longer issue any product updates – including important security fixes – nor will they support the product.

This has spurred a number of IT admins to contact us in a panic. We’re sure they’re not the only ones who are concerned. According to Microsoft, there are millions of servers that are still running Server 2003.

Active Directory and Windows 2003

Active Directory Server fail

Many of those Windows 2003 servers are in place because of Microsoft Active Directory®. AD has historically been the directory service of choice for organizations. The benefit of directory services is generally well understood – increased control, security, and visibility. IT admins are controlling and managing their users and their Windows devices through AD.

The question for IT admins now is whether or not they should be upgrading to the more current Windows Server 2012 or Azure platforms, which is what Microsoft is encouraging.

But What if Microsoft’s Solutions Fall Short?

Active Directory fails in the cloud

A lot has changed since Windows Server 2003 was deployed. IT no longer revolves around Microsoft and the cloud has emerged as a dynamic, vibrant opportunity for organizations.

Microsoft’s suggested server solutions are great at handling other Microsoft products, but are ill-equipped to handle the variety of challenges in the modern office. Because of this, organizations are realizing that upgrading to the next generation Windows Server is in opposition to their current cloud, mobile, and BYOD strategies. How to handle directory services has become a central issue.

What Options Exist Other than 2012/Azure?

identity management market alternative

There is an alternative to upgrading for just the use of Active Directory. That alternative is called Directory-as-a-Service® – a cloud-based directory services solution.

Directory-as-a-Service is cross-platform, delivered from the cloud, and works wherever users and IT resources are. The SaaS-based service requires no hardware or software – enabling organizations that are running Windows Server 2003 to effectively decommission their server hardware and software.

Directory-as-a-Service can control and manage users to IT resources such as Windows, Linux®, and Mac® devices, SaaS-based applications, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (AWS, GCE, and others), and networks through RADIUS. The cloud-based directory is the modern, next generation directory services approach.

From Microsoft Windows 2003 to DaaS

jumpcoud Directory-as-a-Service

If your organization is struggling with what to do about the end of life of Microsoft Windows 2003, and your use case is Active Directory, explore the option of leveraging Directory-as-a-Service.

Feel free to sign-up for a free account on our Directory-as-a-Service platform. Your first 10 user accounts are free forever.

Rajat Bhargava

Rajat Bhargava is co-founder and CEO of JumpCloud, the first Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS). JumpCloud securely connects and manages employees, their devices and IT applications. An MIT graduate with two decades of experience in industries including cloud, security, networking and IT, Rajat is an eight-time entrepreneur with five exits including two IPOs, three trade sales and three companies still private.

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