Cloud computing has come a long way in just a few short years. When we commissioned our first major research project into the UK Cloud market in 2010, just 48 per cent of organisations had consciously adopted a Cloud service. According to our latest research, that figure today stands at 84 per cent. During this time, Cloud has moved from the edge of the IT estate to its centre, and it is now largely regarded as just another way that we do IT. But these growth rates will likely pale in comparison to those we expect over the course of this year as we approach the single biggest catalyst for the Cloud industry since the term was first coined.

In the period leading up to 14th July 2015 the market faces the most significant IT refresh of the 21st century to-date with the end of support of both Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Small Business Server 2003. These products have not only underpinned the IT server market for the last decade, they have been the basis upon which many local IT providers have built their businesses. However technology has moved on.

In spite of repeat warnings from the industry, and a significant amount of publicity surrounding the impending deadline, it seems that a lot of businesses have simply put their heads in the sand. Our research suggest that 58 per cent of UK-based organisations are still running Windows Server 2003, scarcely any change from last year, when this figure stood at 60 per cent.

Doing nothing is simply not an option, the risk of sticking with the operating system with no support or patches available from Microsoft, combined with the heightened security risks posed by new vulnerabilities found in the code for which no commitment has been made that a fix will be produced, is not worth taking. This event will create a new imperative and a new opportunity to look to new Cloud-based alternatives. In the UK alone, an average of 1000 servers per day are likely to need to be transitioned in the final few months of support. Some customers will take the opportunity to move the server workloads to Cloud services, some will undertake a rudimentary incremental upgrade and others will take the opportunity to refine their IT strategy. The coming months represent a great opportunity for customers to make a Cloud migration and adopt the latest enterprise ready technology at a fraction of the price.

Change is coming and businesses cannot continue to simply sweep the death of 2003 under the carpet and hope everything will work out. However, CSPs also need to show businesses that they can be trusted with a company’s private data, they need to be transparent, open and honest so that businesses migrating to cloud can do it simply and confidently