Its official! April 8, 2014, will be the beginning of the end for one of the most successful and longest-running PC operating systems in history as Microsoft officially stops supporting Windows XP, first released to hardware vendors on August 24, 2001. Impact will be tremendous as XP still powers anything between 25 to 33 % of commercial computing platforms. How does lack of support impact existing XP deployments? What are the payoffs should you decide to upgrade? Should you upgrade? These will be the exact questions that we will attempt to answer. Before we move on, let's make some sense of all the various dates that are being bandied about and their implications:-
April 8, 2014:Per Microsoft's official Lifecycle policy on Windows XP, extended support for the platform ceases. Outside of very critical security weaknesses, no more general patches will be released for the OS to fix functional or security related issues.
January 14, 2020:The final month that customers on Windows 7 will have "downgrade rights" to move back to Windows XP. Microsoft extended this date as a courtesy to business customers who have definite business requirements for the OS. By no means is Microsoft offering this as a green-light to continue using the OS this long for normal day-to-day production however as users will be open to all known security risks April 2014 and beyond.
Security will obviously be the single biggest concern post end of software support for XP. Without critical Windows XP security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information. Anti-virus software will also not be able to fully protect you once Windows XP itself is unsupported. This is obviously not the best case scenario and is by itself a valid excuse to migrate from XP. You also run the risk of your XP software not being exploit the current crop of hardware devices. That snazzy new scanner you want to pick up which directly integrates into your app might just not work any longer in the XP environment. Your XP system may not also support latest versions of popular browsers. Mozilla has announced that Firefox 12 will be the last version of its Web browser to support Windows XP editions prior to SP3, so most XP users are safe for now. But what happens when Firefox and other browsers no longer support SP3? Internet users will be putting their systems at greater risk because the browsers won't be receiving current updates, and those users cannot take advantage of new Web technologies that require updated browser features.
Payoffs of the upgrade would focus on enhanced user experience, enterprise grade security features, ability of your upgraded platform to leverage contemporary devices with touch screens. Platforms like Windows 8 have been designed ground up to provide optimum user experience to touch screen devices and apps which work seamlessly across devices.
In a nutshell, you should migrate to leverage the power of changing technology and all the consequent benefits of a seamless experience across devices and platforms. This assumes importance in today's hyper connected world in which companies engage with their customer base through diverse platforms including social media. Upgraded platforms will be secure and will enable you to plan your transition to avoid outages due to lack of support after end of life.
Quadra Systems has demonstrated and proven expertise spanning both private and public cloud deployments due to its presence in the market from the initial stages where evangelism was required to convince people the benefits of cloud. Our vendor agnostic, multi-platform approach, together with proven skills and certifications from major cloud vendors means that we are uniquely poised to provide you a holistic and balanced perspective on building a hybrid cloud infrastructure. Our holistic approach to your solutions will encompass security concerns. Our skills on federated identity management will ensure seamless access to stakeholders while retaining a rigorous security framework. Quadra's partnerships with cloud integration offerings and our proven management and deployment capabilities will ensure deployment of a cloud infrastructure model that will add value to your business. Quadra will perform a business and risk analysis that factors in diverse issues ranging from long term cost savings, data criticality, security and privacy concerns, audit and assurance, regulatory norms, service provider agreements and subsequently will evolve a holistic migration strategy which includes choosing an appropriate platform to porting your existing applications with minimum turbulence.