The end of Windows 2003 gives telcos new opportunities for Linux.

With Windows 2003 end of life just around the corner, telecommunications companies that are still using that server platform should move quickly to make their migration plans. That’s because there can be significant financial, security and compliance risks if an organization is using a server platform that is past its end of life date.

“Failure to have a current, supported operating system raises significant concerns about an organization’s ability to meet regulatory compliance requirements, as well as the needs of business units, partners, and customers,” noted IT research firm IDC in its February 2015 report, “Windows Server 2003 end of life: An opportunity to evaluate IT strategy.”

Microsoft has slated July 14 as the date it will end extended support on all versions of Windows Server 2003/R2 (Microsoft Support Lifecycle section), which means there will be no more updates or patches, no more technical support and no more application support from Microsoft. Not only will Microsoft no longer support the server platform, independent software vendors (ISVs) are likely to stop supporting Windows Server/R2 as well, according to IDC.

Even though Windows 2003’s end of life is no surprise, there are plenty of companies that still have the platform running in their organizations. As IDC reported, the worldwide installed base of Windows Server 2003 was at 5 to 7 million instances at the end of 2014. That total includes both physical servers and instances that are running on a hypervisor on a virtualized server.

Windows 2003 end of life opens new opportunities to consider Linux as a server platform. The open source platform has gained traction, especially in enterprises (check out this executive brief from Red Hat). For example, one of the largest exchanges in Pakistan moved from Windows to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Telco companies, including a top web portal in China, a provider of information technology and communication services throughout Colombia, and a telecommunications provider in Malaysia are all using Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

According to findings from the Enterprise End User Trends Report 2014, a study done by the Linux Foundation, 87 percent of enterprises in the survey said they are adding more Linux servers this year. The survey also found that the percentage of enterprises in transition from Windows to Linux, or at least hedging their bets by deploying both, has increased from 10 percent to 15 percent over the past three years.

Does your company still have Windows 2003? Have you begun migrating of the platform? If so, how’s it going? If not, what’s your plan—and are you considering Linux? Let us know in the comments section below!

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