Mon, April 22, 2019

Prepare for Windows Server 2008 and SQL 2008 End of Life

Extended support for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is ending on January 14, 2020. SQL Server 2008 & 2008 R2 ends in July of 2019. Although this may seem like plenty of time to prepare, these dates are just around the corner. However, there are two upgrade paths available: On-premises upgrade, or migration to a hosted cloud infrastructure within Azure. We will review these two upgrade paths in this blog post.

Why Upgrade?

While servers running 2008 or 2008 R2 versions will not stop working, there are a few key things to consider if you decide to continue utilizing this server platform. First and foremost, Microsoft will not release any further patches to this version. Patches can include bug fixes to the software, added features and functionality, and most importantly security updates. Running software that is end of life poses a risk for potential hackers to exploit any vulnerabilities that have not been addressed due to not being patched. In addition, Microsoft is no longer providing mainstream support for Server and SQL 2008 / 2008R2. Read more about what dangers lie in running end of life software.

On-premises Upgrade

One modernization path is to move to a supported Server OS or SQL platform on-premises. One thing to keep in mind if you are running Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2, you will need to upgrade to Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 before you can upgrade to Windows Server 2016 or 2019. It is also recommended to upgrade your SQL servers parallel to Windows Servers.

Whether reusing your existing server hardware or if you are planning on purchasing new equipment, it is best practice to ensure that the hardware not only meets the specs of your applications but also that it is scaled to your business.

Microsoft Partner N-1 Support Policy

As of January 1, 2019, Microsoft and rolled out a new N-1 support policy for Microsoft Partners. This support policy applies to all on-premises products. This means that product support is available for the current product version (N) and the previous product version (N-1). Any versions prior to N-1 are not covered under mainstream support and the customer / partner must pay per incident to create a support case. For instance, Microsoft Server 2012 and 2012R2 Operating Systems have not yet reached the end of extended support (10/10/2023). However, under the N-1 support policy these OS versions are not covered.

Migrate to a Cloud Infrastructure

An alternative to upgrading on-premises servers is a migration to a cloud infrastructure. The cloud can be a different solution based on business needs. For instance, a small business with only 5-10 users that doesn’t have any on-premise applications may decide to move to SharePoint within Office 365. However, other organizations may have business and IT needs where Azure’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) may be a better option.

Here are 5 reasons to move to the cloud:

  1. Scalability
  2. Predictable, Monthly Spend
  3. Decrease in IT Hardware Spend
  4. Reliability
  5. Enhanced Security

Centrality is a Microsoft Cloud Productivity Competency partner. We can assist your organization with selecting the right solution as well as migration to the cloud.

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