End of support for Windows Server and SQL Server 2008 is coming. Here’s what you need to know.

 In Microsoft, Software

If you’re a Microsoft customer running Windows Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008, this reminder is for you – end of support for these products is fast approaching.

For SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2, extended support ends on July 9, 2019. For Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, extended support ends on January 14, 2020.

What exactly does this mean? That’s what we’re here to discuss.

What does end of support signal for existing customers?

Per the Microsoft Lifecycle Policy, organizations receive 10 years of support (five years of mainstream support and five years of extended support) on the 2008 and 2008 R2 versions of SQL Server and Windows Server.

Once the extended support period ends, Microsoft will no longer offer support, including patches or regular security updates, on these products, potentially opening your organization up to significant security risks.

With six months to a year left before extended support expires, you may be inclined to delay making any changes. But to keep your organization running smoothly (and securely) when these deadlines arrive, Microsoft encourages you to start planning now by taking one of the following two paths:

Path 1: Migrate to Azure

If you’ve thought about taking advantage of the cloud, the end of support period is the perfect time to make the transition. For that reason, Microsoft is offering the opportunity to migrate your SQL Server and Windows Server workloads to the Azure cloud.

To alleviate the stress of trying to upgrade all your existing deployments before the end-of-support deadline, Microsoft will provide organizations who select this option free Extended Security Updates for three additional years after the deadlines for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2.

This option is particularly beneficial for state and local government agencies and other organizations that are running proprietary software that cannot be upgraded. Migrating to Azure alleviates the problem and allows you to keep receiving security updates.

Path 2: Upgrade to the latest on-premises versions

If you don’t feel comfortable moving all your workloads to the cloud, or if certain compliance requirements demand you keep your servers on-premises, you can instead upgrade to the latest version of SQL Server and Windows Server and purchase support – a la carte – for individual licenses.

Unlike moving to Azure, with this option you do not get free Extended Security Updates. You can purchase Extended Security Updates annually for 75 percent of the total license cost of the latest version of SQL Server or Windows Server, but only if you have active Software Assurance or subscription licenses. As you can imagine, this option could get costly.

Next steps

The end of support for SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 isn’t happening until July 2019 and January 2020, respectively, but it’s in your best interest to start planning for it now. This could be a complicated transition with a lot of moving parts and budgetary implications. By beginning now, including setting up an Azure account and familiarizing yourself with the portal if you’re planning on migrating to the Azure cloud, you can avoid interruptions in infrastructure and application security later.

If you have any questions about the upcoming changes or what’s required to swap out these 2008 server installations, contact your SHI account executive today.

Melinda Galindo contributed to this post.

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