AppZero gets $3M to forklift Windows Server shops into the modern era

People are in a tizzy over the looming end of support for the Windows XP desktop operating system. They might spend some of that energy worrying about Windows Server 2003, which will face a similar dead-end in July 2015, according to Greg O’Connor.

O’Connor is the CEO of AppZero, which specializes in migrating enterprise applications and which now has $3 million in fresh funding to get that job done. The money comes from superangel investors including Joseph Alsop, the former CEO and co-founder of Progress Software; Frank Bonsal, founder of New Enterprise Associates; and Matt Ocko, co-founder of Data Collective. This money brings AppZero’s total funding to $14 million.

For Andover, Mass.–based AppZero, the still-large installed base of Windows Server 2003 is a golden opportunity. Microsoft plans to end support for that server OS at the end of July 2015. The 17 months  between now and then is not a long time for companies that will need to figure out what to do with those applications, which in many cases run their businesses. AppZero takes those apps — which are mostly Windows and .NET-centric —  and moves them to Windows Server 2012. (Or, in some cases, Windows Server 2008 — a better choice for customers running SQL Server 2005, which is not supported on Windows Server 2012.)

There’s a big opportunity here. Businesses hate to move off technology that works, and CIOs know from hard experience that forklift upgrades of an OS often break applications and other parts of the stack.  O’Connor cited IDC estimates that 75 percent of business servers run Windows Server, and Microsoft says 57 percent of those are still on the venerable Windows Server 2003.

O’Connor divvies up the server applications migration market into three buckets. The first consists of big ISV apps from SAP(s sap), Oracle(s orcl) etc., and there the big ISVs or their systems integration partners would likely do the work. Second, there are ISV applications that have been heavily tweaked and customized, usually by someone who has since left the company. Third, there are home-grown apps. AppZero plays mostly in the latter two categories.

Competitors in this space include Racemi, RiverMeadow and Cloud Velocity.

Microsoft has brought AppZero into the fold to help its sales people move customers along, O’Connor said. “Their salesmen get paid if we help get the customers off VMware onto Hyper-V in the process.” List price for AppZero is $500 per application moved, with volume discounts available.

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Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user Elsie esq.