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Windows 2003 Server End-of-Life, Presenting Window of Opportunity for Hedge Funds

By Scott Reardon, Director of Global Technology Services | Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

The following article originally appeared on HFMTechnology.

Although we are faced with change on a daily basis, especially in the hedge fund technology industry, keeping pace with ongoing tech metamorphoses does not come easy for everyone. Fear, the biggest contributor of hesitancy toward change, masks the opportunities innovation presents. Fear is what leads to IT limbo, and in an ever-evolving technology landscape, this effect can be crippling. However, with the support of expert IT service providers, the pains and fears of migrations and upgrades are alleviated.

In this article, we’ll examine the recent end-of-life (EOL), of operating system (OS) Windows Server 2003, its resultant challenges and how to overcome them.

Doing Nothing and Risking Everything

Windows Server 2003 extended support ended on July 14, 2015; however, not all users have made the transition to Windows Server 2012 R2. Why are firm’s remaining on an out-of-support OS?

The primary influencers are fear and a lack of sense of urgency to replace a still functioning OS. In the case of users still utilizing the legacy application, the risks they face largely outweigh the benefits. By doing absolutely nothing, firms are risking everything. As patches and bug fixes are no longer being provided, hackers have an unguarded entrance to access a firm’s sensitive information, passwords and banking accounts. This not only increases the firm’s odds of being hacked, but also raises the gravity of ensuing damages should an incident occur.

Additionally, if a firm’s network does crash that’s still deployed on Windows Sever 2003, the odds of finding expert support become increasingly limited with each passing year. This is predominantly due to the industry’s forward marching nature. An outdated system will only continue to fall behind in the race of technology, trouble shooting will take longer, future applications will fail to run, or crash the server altogether, and the cost to migrate increases concurrently as the pool of experts shrinks.

The bottom line is change is inevitable, and eventually 2003 will reach a point where the surrounding ecosystem won’t work with 2003 servers. Ultimately, MS will make it so the OS becomes inoperative as the company continues to evolve. So what can we do?

Finding the Opportunity in OS 2012

To put the preconceived fears to rest, we can assure users there are benefits to the latest Windows update. If fact, there is a window of opportunity for a new OS to bring to the fold. Benefits of upgrading to Windows Server 2012 R2 include, but are not limited to, enhancements in management, storage, virtualization and security. Additionally, the updated OS offers a 64-bit architecture, which is faster and more efficient than a 32-bit computer. Windows 2003 offered both versions. The issue this latter factor presents is there is no method for directly upgrading operating systems from a 32 bit. Unless, you have an IT provider to manage a side by side migration technique for transferring applications and services to the new OS.

Out with the Old and in with the New

Fortunately, for Eze Castle Integration’s clients, we are offering assistance in planning and executing a migration strategy to protect firms’ infrastructures that are still running on Server 2003. With this support, migration is seamless for end users and downtime and data loss is limited with innovative backup solutions. Windows Server 2003 also presents the opportunity for financial firms to adopt alternative technology innovations that have risen over the past decade.

With that said, aside from upgrading the legacy operating system, hedge funds may want to assess their current and future IT needs. Throughout this OS transition, we’ve experienced numerous clients moving away from their traditional infrastructures and taking the opportunity to adopt a cloud-based solution. Transitioning to a private cloud offers firms advanced computing capabilities, practically zero downtown, unlimited resources, increased scalability and the safest, most robust cloud computing option available.

In summary, the EOL of MS 2003 presents an occasion for innovation and IT improvement. The transition is inevitable, and opportunity is up for grabs.

Please contact Eze Castle Integration to discuss your upgrade options.

About the Author

Scott Reardon is Director of Global Technology Services at Eze Castle Integration, the leading provider of technology and private cloud services to the hedge fund and alternative investment industry.

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