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Why should we upgrade our Windows 2003 DC when extended support is there till 2015? We have about 20 servers mixed 2003 32 bit and 2008 64 bit member servers and about 100 W7 64 bit Clients. Our 32 bit Windows 2003 R2 Domain Controllers are running fine. They are on DL380 G3 so cannot be converted to 64 bit Windows 2008 R2 DCs. That means we have to buy new servers. Can we postpone upgrade to 2014 or 2015? Then we could just upgrade to latest Windows version.

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closed as not constructive by Bryan, Dave M, Ward, Alex, Michael Hampton Jan 19 '13 at 0:41

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Technically speaking, you could postpone upgrading indefinitely.

Your servers won't stop working when support runs out; you just won't be able to get official support on them.

I suspect that the proper course of action here is to postpone the update until you buy new servers that support 64 bit OS architectures, and then tackle the hardware upgrade and the software upgrade in the same project.

Just make sure both IT and the business understand the risk involved, which is that if something goes wrong, and you need support to help fix it, you won't be able to get official support, and might have to rebuild the domain... which would be far more costly than the price of a few servers and elevating the domain now.

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Actually technical issue - you can not even NOW upgrade to the latest windows version, you have to upgrade in stages, 2008, then 2012. You are too old to directly upgrade. ANOTHER generation will likely mean 2 steps.

Then there is the issue that quite likely your 20 server are more like 3-4 when you get modern ones, less heat, less cost, but that seems irrelevant for you. Can well be.

Obviously you also do not care about the technical new things in there, so..., do not update. Please come with all the problems when you do in 2 years.

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The nice thing about domain controllers is that they replicate to each other. When you get the new hardware down the road, install the latest version of Windows Server on it, join the domain and make it a DC for your existing Domain. Transfer all the FSMO roles to the new DC(s) before retiring your old ones. Hence, no in-place upgrade required. The challenge will be if your DC also does a bunch of other things in which case you would need to migrate those services and applications as well. – Harold Wong Jan 18 '13 at 17:30

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