Windows Server 2008 end-of-life: Everything you need to know

All Windows Server 2008 products will reach the end of their support lifecycle in January 2020, with serious implications for those who don’t upgrade before this date. In addition, SQL Server 2008 is no longer supported as of July 7th, 2019.

As with all older servers and software solutions, Microsoft is ending support for these legacy systems to pave the way for more modern, secure and up-to-date servers.

With Server 2008 products already 11 years old – which is ancient in the technology world! – businesses have steadily been moving away from them due to lack of functionality, capacity and secure features.

Businesses that don’t move away from Server 2008 products before the 14th January 2020 deadline are putting themselves at serious risk. After this date, Windows will no longer offer bug fixes and security updates, meaning these systems will be especially vulnerable to cyber-attacks and, in particular, zero-day attacks which exploit previously unknown vulnerabilities.

There is also a risk of application incompatibility, meaning the software solutions running on your Server or SQL Server 2008 solution – such as your CRM or ERP programmes – could no longer be available. Sage customers in particular could encounter issues with their Sage 200 solution, which relies on its SQL database.

Outdated server platforms restrict a business’ ability to grow as innovative software solutions are incompatible. Your business’ infrastructure should be secure, modern, flexible and scalable to ensure it works for your organisation and not against it.

It’s easy to view important end-of-life deadlines as a burden, but we see it as an opportunity. Perhaps you’ve remained on a Server or SQL Server 2008 platform because there’s been no pressing need to move away from it. But this deadline gives you the opportunity to re-evaluate your options and look at how you can improve your business operations in the final solution you choose.

Microsoft is giving Windows Server 2008 customers a wide array of options to help them transition from this outdated server to the most suitable solution.

Migration to Microsoft Azure

If you migrate your existing Server 2008 or Server 2008 R2 solutions to Azure, you’ll benefit from three years of Extended Security Updates (ESU) at no extra charge. This means you can retain Server 2008 for a little longer, which may be a requirement if you have a legacy application which requires this platform.

Migrating to Azure, Microsoft’s leading cloud hosting platform, is a great opportunity to kickstart the modernisation of your business’ IT infrastructure. Cloud hosting brings a wide array of benefits, one of the most significant being an immediate cost-saving in the office space required to store a physical server.

Azure is a fantastic solution which can integrate with your existing IT environment whilst becoming the platform upon which you can build modern, scalable applications going forward.

Fears around the availability and security of the cloud are eased with Microsoft’s 99.99% uptime guarantee and industry-leading security protocols. Azure is considered, in part, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service solution, which is also an option for customers.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) with Pulsant

This end-of-life presents an ideal opportunity to consider whether your business could benefit from migrating workloads to a full Infrastructure-as-a-Service solution.

One of the key benefits of IaaS solutions is the scalability offered. You’ll only ever pay for what you use, and if your business experiences a period of rapid growth, your infrastructure will grow with you.

Choosing a third-party hosting platform such as Pulsant Enterprise Cloud also gives you an availability guarantee of at least 99.995%, meaning you’ll never experience costly downtime.

Replace your server with a modern version

We understand that some businesses either may not be ready to move to the cloud or have specific requirements that mean on-premise solutions fit the bill better than the cloud.

That’s why we can provision a new Server, either Server 2016 or Server 2019 depending on your requirements, and this solution can be either physical or virtual. All of your data and services can be migrated to this modern, futureproof server.

Server 2019 offers a host of benefits to customers, including the ability to work with a truly hybrid solution by combining your on-premise Server 2019 with a number of Azure services.

What’s next?

We’re already working with our customers to find the right solution for their business, whether that’s on-premise or in the cloud.

With so many options available, this upgrade can seem daunting. But thanks to our collaborative approach as your managed IT services partner, we’ll only recommend and implement the best solution for your business.

We’ve already been in touch with our customers who will be affected by this end-of-life, but you can also arrange a call-back from one of our infrastructure experts using our short form.