HP, Microsoft Roll Out Partner Program To Capture Windows Server 2003 End-Of-Life Upgrade Opportunity

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With one year until Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows Server 2003 support, Hewlett-Packard is mounting a massive partner-led offensive with the software giant to upgrade a big chunk of the 11.7 million servers still running the 11-year-old operating system.

HP said it is putting its solution provider partners on the front lines of the $10 billion opportunity with what it is calling the HP Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Migration Program.

The program is kicking off exactly one year to the day ahead of when Microsoft formally ends Windows Server 2003 support on July 14, 2015. HP and Microsoft formally rolled out the initiative Monday at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington D.C.

[Related: Microsoft Reminds Customers It's Ending Some Windows 7 Support Next January]

HP said the upgrade program is aimed at preventing potentially disastrous security and support issues facing enterprises and even small businesses still using old servers.

The new program provides partners with robust new financial incentives backed up with a comprehensive portfolio of assessment services, tools, training and financing all designed to make sure customers are not caught flat-footed when Windows 2003 support is terminated.

"This program is going to allow channel partners to migrate customers simpler, faster and more profitably than they could with any other vendor," said Doug Oathout, HP's vice president of global marketing, SMB and Alliances For HP.

The security risk posed by the end of life for Windows Server 2003 is considerable, said Oathout. "It could be a disaster of mammoth proportions" given the mission-critical data being stored on Windows Server 2003 systems, he said.

HP estimates that a whopping 60 percent of the customers still running Windows Server 2003 do not have a full migration plan. With that in mind, HP is offering to pay partners for each migration assessment on all qualified deals that are registered in HP's Salesforce.com Unison-based PartnerOne platform. Oathout said the average partner payout will be $3,000 to $5,000 per migration assessment, though some might get as much as $10,000 depending on partner level and opportunity size.

HP's Technology Services team has already put together a toolkit that will enable partners to do the assessments. There will also be new financial incentives and rebates with upsell and cross sell opportunities for all registered Windows Server 2003 upgrades.

The assessments are critical given that many large enterprise customers are not aware of just how many Windows Server 2003 servers and applications they are still running. "Right now IT departments don't have the time or resources to get this done on their own," Oathout said.

NEXT: HP Financial Services Offers Make Upgrades Affordable

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