Jake Liftshits is the executive vice president of Zinstall, a Torrance, Calif.-based software manufacturer that specializes in migrating software from one platform to another whether it is servers, desktop platforms or to the cloud.
Of course, Liftshits sees a huge opportunity for not only Zinstall, but especially for MSPs, surrounding Windows Server 2003, the upcoming launch of Windows 10, and the ever-growing migration to cloud.
The company, which has been in business since 2009, works almost exclusively through the channel and has over 700 partners throughout the country. Its application migration platform, WinServ, works to migrate applications seamlessly and easily, cutting down time on the overall process from a few days to one day.
In your eyes, how big is the opportunity around Server 2003?
Well, what we see with partners is a gold mine for them. The deal is pretty simple. A lot of companies have these servers. If you have an XP work station – something that is outdated as well – you can technically just throw it away and get another one and just reinstall everything. With servers, you cannot. It's running your business….If it's running your customer database, you cannot throw it away. You have to somehow deal with this. On the other hand, because it's a mission critical server, they would stall [the migration] as much as they can. Then we get to this point where something like 40 percent-to-50 percent of companies out there still have at least one 2003 Server…They are starting to understand that they are now running them exposed since the end of support has passed, so they are trying to move away from that. To do that manually is a three-to-five day process. People don't even remember how to install since the last time they did it was in 2005.
You mentioned they've left themselves exposed. What are the biggest reasons why some of these businesses have waited to migrate?
Mostly because it's super scary. You have a server that's been running your business for several years, and now you have to replace it with something else. If it stops working, you're losing hours that you're not getting paid for. For a business, that's a disaster. This is not like work stations where you have an employee that is getting his or her applications and files updated. That one employee has some downtime, or maybe he or she can work on someone else's computer. When you migrate a server, this is your core. If it stops working, you have lots of people that can't do their job. So whenever you can avoid that, you do. You do everything you can not to ever touch that situation. If it ain't broke, don’t fix it. They would have migrated if it were super easy. That's what we're trying to do. But because it's not super easy, and it's very scary to be without a server, most businesses postpone it a lot.
What are the risks of not migrating away from Server 2003?
Right now it's not that big, but the risk will grow. The way it works is you’ve got your servers and let's say you've been following the instructions from Microsoft and are fully patched. The end of support was [Wednesday]. Right now even though the support has ended, your server is no less secure because no new exploits have been detected. You're fully patched. You're completely OK today. But there will be no further support, no further patches, so as time goes on, you become less and less secure. There is no need to panic now, but there is need to panic further down the road.
How long do one of these migrations typically take?
That heavily depends on what's running on the server. They're all pretty different. We focus on applications. That's usually most of the servers most organizations would have. All the applications, that's what we do. Usually for a normal enterprise server application, you're talking at least two days…It's not copying files, that's the easy part. It's all the configuration and getting this whole thing to work together. What we do is we automate the whole process because we don’t reinstall it and do what you would normally do manually. It takes care of 90 percent of the job for an application server. It cuts down that process that normally takes days to one day. That's the whole process. Our transfer part is several hours.