Unlike Windows XP, where there were application migration challenges, Windows Server 2012 R2 offers relatively good application compatibility with Windows Server 2003. In technical terms, although the new system is delivered as a 64-bit operating system, most 32-bit applications that have no 16-bit code segments should install and run on it through Windows on Windows 64 (WoW64) technology.
The security risks to not upgrading before Microsoft support ceases are outlined below, but we should add that Windows Server 2012 R2 also features many improvements compared with the old system including integrated virtualisation, extensive scalability, new operational roles and script execution capabilities.
We advise against making an interim upgrade to Windows Server 2008 as mainstream support for that had already been discontinued, in fact before Windows Server 2003.
Risks of not migrating
- As no security updates are nowl issued, your server running Windows Server 2003 will be highly vulnerable to infection by malware, with criminals being well aware of the vulnerability.
- Such malware could be used by criminals for a number of purposes, including: