In a tribute to Windows Server 2003, which reaches its end of life on 14 July, disaster recovery provider Databarracks, together with the University of Surrey's Electronics and Amateur Radio Society, launched a Win2k3 disk into space.
Based on mass and the weather conditions on the day, the team predicts the balloon carrying the disk reached an altitude of 100,000 feet - compared to the altitude of 30,000 to 40,000 feet for most commercial aircraft - before bursting and travelling back down to Earth.
"Windows Server 2003 has been such a reliable workhorse for organisations for the last decade. The unparalleled levels of stability it has offered have earned it a special place in the hearts of IT managers worldwide – ours included," said Databarracks Managing Director Peter Groucutt.
"There's almost a feeling of nostalgia when we think about Server 2003 reaching end of life. For us as a company especially – we were founded in 2003 and so Win2k3 has been integral to us from the start. We wanted to give it a fitting send off."
Despite support reaching end of life, 61 per cent of businesses were still reliant on Windows Server 2003 by the end of 2014, research from the Cloud Industry Forum suggests. A further study by Bit9 predicts 2.7 million Win2k3 servers will remain deployed post end-of-life.
Given this premise, Databarracks Technical Operations Manager Oscar Arean warns that: "Continuing to run an unsupported operating system after end-of-life will leave you open to vulnerabilities. In addition, applications will no longer be supported by vendors on server 2003. While they may work fine for a while, if you do have an issue, the vendor won't be able to help."
"While there are security products available to allow you to keep Windows Server 2003, that option will prove expensive. Additionally, expect IT support companies to increase the cost of support of 2003 boxes - Microsoft are rumoured to be charging around $600 USD per incident," Arean adds.