End of Support for Windows Server 2003 Coming This Year – Plan now to upgrade your OSIsoft PI System Computers

Microsoft will end support of Windows Server 2003 on July 14th, 2015. Microsoft will no longer provide security fixes and updates for the OS after this date. It is imperative that you develop a plan to upgrade any PI servers or interface computers that you have running this OS.

Upgrading your PI Server is usually much easier than you might expect. I am often able to do this remotely in a single day. You may wish to take this opportunity to upgrade your hardware since anything that came with Windows 2003 installed is going to be pretty old at this point. I recommend that you replace PI system servers every four to five years. The transition to a new server is pretty straightforward and with PI node buffering, does not result in any lost data. You will lose access to real-time data for a short period during the transition. The outage can be as short as 30 minutes.

If your budget does not allow a server upgrade, or if you are running newer server hardware with Windows 2003, I recommend a fresh install of the latest Windows OS on the existing hardware. I would recommend backing up the PI Server, doing a clean install of Windows 2012 R2, and then restoring the PI Server to the new OS. This results in a little more downtime than moving to a new machine due to the time required to backup and restore the PI Server state, install the new OS, install PI Server software, and then restore the PI Server state to the new OS.

Don’t forget about your interface computers. When running a standard OSIsoft provided interface that does not require any other vendor software, the upgrade should be easy. There may be complicating factors with DCS vendor software that will require running an older version of Windows Server. We must access these situations on a case by case basis.

It is important that you access your situation as soon as possible so that you can plan your upgrades for the first half of this year. You still have plenty of time to upgrade everything in time. Early planning may allow you to take advantage of planned or unplanned outages to update your software. With proper planning, an online upgrade can be performed with no loss of historical data.

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