What the End of the Windows 2000 Road Means for Enterprise IT
Microsoft Windows XP enters Extended Support mode this week, but IT managers should be thinking more about the Windows family at the end of the Extended Support road: Windows 2000. eWEEK Labs explains what this means for companies still using the older OS, and why now is a good time to start planning for your next OS upgrade.Windows XP enters the stage of life known as Extended Support this week, but IT administrators should have their eye on a Windows OS family near the end of the Extended Support road: Windows 2000 Server (in all its flavors) and Windows 2000 Professional. For many organizations, XP's move to Extended Support won't mean much in the short term. Microsoft will continue to release free security updates for the desktop operating system (with the most recent service pack, SP3) through the usual channels until August 2014. What will change, however, is the availability of non-security-related hotfixes-from here on out, they will require the purchase of an Extended Hotfix Support Agreement, as well as payment of applicable per-fix fees.
During Extended Support, complimentary incident support is no more, but paid support will still be available via phone or Web. Also, XP customers will no longer be able to request product design or feature changes. Microsoft Security Bulletin for April 2009 contained three patches deemed Critical for Windows 2000 and another two rated Important. As I was starkly reminded on a recent visit to a local hospital in San Francisco, many organizations will likely find Windows 2000 still maintains a healthy presence on the desktop or in the data center. Those companies would do well to soon start budgeting for a 2010 move to a newer Windows iteration (or another operating system altogether), keeping in mind that such a move will likely mean hardware as well as software upgrades. And if such a move is in on the books for Windows 2000 systems, it makes sense to at the same time consider an upgrade for Windows XP desktops as well, to ease ongoing support. In the meantime, IT implementers would do well to use Windows 2000 as a benchmark for Windows XP in its Extended Support period. Companies that paid for Hotfix Support Agreements for the older operating system should spend some time evaluating how Microsoft's support was utilized during this period, using that information to help guide the purchase decisions for Windows.