Enterprise customers have less than four months before Microsoft cuts off support for Windows Server 2003, and there are still millions of 03 servers out there that have to migrate off the soon-to-be abandoned OS.
Some companies have chosen to replace the old servers with new, modern hardware and Windows Server 2012, while others have gone the cloud route. Then there's the whole app migration headache, something AppZero has gotten its arms around for most customers.
Then there's Zynstra, which kills two birds with one stone: it offers app migration and new hardware, but it offers hardware as a single license with the software, so customers account for their servers as an ongoing operating expense and not a big capital expense.
The company offers customers a hybrid of on-premises and cloud services, putting apps and data where they are best suited.
"Our view is the hybrid cloud is the norm now and has a sustainable future and that is the right way to deploy IT infrastructure, with capabilities behind your firewall or in a multi-tenant or virtual public cloud," Zynstra CEO Nick East says.
Zynstra provides those migrating off Server 2003 with HP ProLiant servers running Xen virtualization, on which the customer builds its own infrastructure for managing typical IT functions like domain management, active directory, gateway, and so on. As part of that service customers get a clusterable server environment that is integrated with Office 365, AWS, and Azure.
The cost of the hardware, support, Windows Server, and apps are all rolled into one package and paid as an ongoing operating expense. This means the customer doesn't have to treat the equipment as a depreciating asset.
"Our business proposition is to provide organizations a new environment that delivers a gateway to the cloud," East says. "There are no big capex purchases because it's on a pay monthly opex basis, and we keep them current."
Zynstra manages those servers for the client, making sure they keep up with updates from firmware to OS to apps. East said a lot of IT departments aren't particularly good at keeping servers well-maintained.
"Very often it's not done proactively. It's something someone has to carry out as part of their job, but they don't," he says.
The company is finding that smaller shops and branch offices for larger firms can't afford cloud management or don't use Microsoft System Center, both of which it offers with its service.
East is a firm believer in the hybrid cloud model and thinks the end-of-life for Server 2003 is perfectly timed.
"What's happening is there is this happy accident that the maturity of the hybrid model is arriving when Server 2003 support is ending," he says. "So if you have to make a decision, it's a good time to make a decision about the cloud."