Are you ready for Microsoft’s End of Support?

Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 are nearing the End of Support.

For most people this does not mean much, but for many businesses that have software on servers that have been happily working for years, they are now faced with the task of upgrading and migrating their software to new servers on later versions of Windows. Given the average rate at which IT professionals move around, these systems have likely been in operation for longer than most of the current IT staff charged with maintaining it. As such, upgrading and migrating can often be a complex and expensive operation that you should start considering as soon as possible.

What does Microsoft end of support actually mean?

Microsoft saysthe upcoming end of support milestone is a great opportunity to transform your applications and infrastructure to take advantage of cloud computing and the latest versions of SQL Server and Windows Server.’

They will no longer provide support or patches for these products, and most notable is the fact that there will no longer be standard security patches issued for these products.

This is in line with the general Microsoft rule of 5 years of standard support and 5 years of extended support. There is the option to pay for up to 3 years addition support.

What does extended Microsoft support get you?

At a cost of 75% of the full license price annually, Microsoft will continue to provide your organisation with security patches for security flaws it deems critical or important. No other support or bug fixes for the products are provided under this arrangement.

This is in line with the general Microsoft rule of 5 years of standard support and 5 years of extended support. There is the option to pay for up to 3 years addition support.

Should you upgrade and migrate or wait for 3 more years?

Takeshi Numoto, Corporate Vice President, Cloud + Enterprise at Microsoft says ‘End of support means the end of regular security updates.

With cyber-attacks becoming more sophisticated and frequent, running apps and data on unsupported versions can create significant security and compliance risks. The 2008 family of products was great for its time, but we highly recommend upgrading to the most current versions for better performance, efficiency, and regular security updates.’

It is likely that Microsoft 2008 with extended support is just as safe as Microsoft 2012 or later. However, if you are the target of an attack, the last thing you want is to be running 2008 servers. Rather than waiting for the worst to happen, it is better for organisations to be on the front foot and be prepared.

The Microsoft FAQ page says ‘After the end of the Extended Support period there will be no patches or security updates, which may cause security and compliance issues, and expose customers’ applications and business to serious security risks.’

In addition to this, there is the risk that with extended support that a security patch introduces a bug into the operations of the software running on the server. In this scenario, you will need to choose between living with the bug (if possible) and risking a security flaw, as Microsoft will not assist with bug fixes or other support issues.

In short, it is worth listening to the Microsoft recommendations and upgrading your Windows to a newer version with more features, efficiency and security.

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