HP has warned that mid-size firms may be the worst affected as the deadline nears for the end of all support for Windows Server 2003.
Windows Server 2003 is due to reach end of life on 14 July this year, which will see the cessation of all support from Microsoft, including hot fixes and patches for any security vulnerabilities that may come to light.
The move follows the much publicised end of life for Windows XP last year. Windows Server 2003 is based on the same core code as XP but was released later.
Microsoft has highlighted the Windows Server 2003 deadline for some time, and large corporations with a well organised IT department are likely to have their migration plans in hand or already completed.
Indeed, a survey published by services firm Avanade at the end of last year showed that four out of five businesses still using Windows Server 2003 are expected to migrate from the platform before July.
Iain Stephen, HP's vice president and general manager for servers in EMEA, told V3 that his firm is most concerned about mid-size customers that may have anything up to a few hundred servers.
"For most small companies, it's a relatively simple transition. They are probably buying one or two servers every three or four years and the next server they buy will have an up-to-date operating system version," he said.
"The customer that worries me is the one that has 30 or more servers, probably of mixed ages, and they may have heard something about the end of life deadline, but they may not be doing anything about it."
Fortunately, a Windows Server 2003 migration does not appear to be saddling customers with application compatibility woes in quite the same way as did the transition away from Windows XP.
This means that a migration mostly means deploying new server hardware with an up-to-date operating system, according to Stephen.
"It probably means a box change for a lot of customers, not simply a reinstall, because the hardware is now so old it is no longer sufficient," he said.
HP is offering a solution that bundles a new Windows Server licence along with the hardware and any services required to get up and running, all for a fixed price so that customers can get a pre-packaged Windows Server 2012 system.
However, Microsoft now offers enterprise volume licensing for firms down to 200 employees, Stephen said, which means that many companies may already have the rights to deploy an updated version of Windows Server without realising it.
HP is also offering migration and transformation support via HP's Services operation, and is working with channel partners on transformation services, he added.
"It's basically now about getting the message out and making sure we have spoken to all those customers that might still be running Windows Server 2003," he said.
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