While general support for Windows Server 2008 R2 went the way of the dodo back in January 2015, extended support continued. However, come January 14, 2020, that era ends as well.
If your website runs on a server using this operating system, you must understand what this means to you and make a plan for a future without Windows Server 2008. Here’s some information you need to understand the coming changes.
How Much Time Do I Have?
Historically, organizations are notoriously slow to change an operating system, even when it’s no longer supported. For example, nine months after the end of support for Windows Server 2003, 58% of companies were still in the process of making a switch. Forty-two percent of those companies indicated it would be at least another six months before the transition to something else was complete.
If you haven’t started planning for the changeover yet, you’re already behind, and you may even be seeing some signs of trouble. Some users report slow and sluggish performance and equipment failures. These problems will only get worse because Windows Server 2008 is no longer optimized.
What Happens Next?
Once you reach the end of the road for Windows Server 2008, you’ll see some specific challenges.
- No more security updates will be released, so hackers will take advantage and use it to unleash new disasters. Compliance risks go up as well. If you want to see just how bad it can get, consider the WannaCry ransomware attacks from 2017, which were mostly possible because of weaknesses in outdated operating systems.
- General updates will also cease, decreasing compatibility with new equipment and programming. As a result, working with Windows Server 2008 will become almost impossible.
- Virtualization allows multiple users to share a server. Without regular updates, this feature breaks down. Users see a decline in performance and more breakdowns in the system.
What Are My Options?
For running on-premises data and applications, upgrading to the latest version of Windows Server and SQL Server maybe your best option. If you start updating right away, you can avoid the complications that come with a rushed installation. The latest version of the Windows Server software includes new features that let you take full advantage of cloud computing along with more advanced security features.
Another option is Azure virtual machines, an excellent choice if you need to host applications on virtual stations over a large geographic area. Azure features tools that let you revamp your existing apps and develop exciting new ones. Azure Stack may be the right choice if you need to maintain a hybrid system.
Microsoft offers free Extended Security Updates until January of 2023 if you migrate your Windows Server 2008 systems to Azure Virtual Machines. For on-premises setups, you can buy Extended Security Updates to get protection for another three years, which might be helpful if you need extra protection while you work on your long term plan.
Read up on all your options at the Microsoft 2008 End of Support Resource Center. You can find a toolkit to help you assess where you are and what kind of changes you need to make.
Where Can I Find Help?
Even if you read everything available online and try to make a plan, you may still find yourselves with questions. Your valuable systems are too important to take chances. You may be running late in preparing for the sun to set on Windows Server 2008, but don’t panic.
Enterprise Technology Services can help you make the transition with minimal disruption. To get started on your customized plan to navigate away from Windows Server 2008, contact us today. We’ll help you every step of the way.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/GaudiLab