Don’t delay! Plan for Windows Server 2008 end of life today
Businesses can’t afford to live purely in the moment. The ability to plan ahead is often what sets successful organisations apart. By bringing the future into the present, you can do something about it now. Applying this proactive approach to the management of your IT infrastructure is a must.
The dynamic nature of all things digital means there’s always an important update of some description looming on the horizon. Take Windows Server 2008 for example: this server operating system is fast approaching the end of its support lifecycle. Savvy businesses are already planning their business change strategy accordingly. Those that choose to ignore it until the last-minute risk of forfeiting critical updates and support in the future.
How much longer will Windows Server 2008 be supported?
Back on 15th January 2015, mainstream support for Windows Server 2008 ended, triggering its extended support period and setting the clock ticking towards its end of life – the date (14th January 2020) Microsoft will no longer provide automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance.
Mainstream and extended support periods
Unlike some products out there that simply fade into obscurity, a Microsoft server operating system has a very definite lifecycle – from its release to the termination of support. Two service periods are provided to customers, covering its full existence: mainstream support and extended support.
Microsoft is committed to enhancing a server operating system during its mainstream support period – this typically lasts for five years from the release date. To achieve this, they supply non-security hotfixes, accept warranty claims, release design changes and provide paid online and phone support. This first phase of Windows Server 2008 support ended on 15th January 2015.
Extended support typically commences the moment the mainstream support period ends. Its eventual termination signals the server operating systems end of life – 14th January 2020 in the case of Windows Server 2008. Having withdrawn all resources from the development of the product, Microsoft only commits to releasing security updates to keep it safe.
Will it still be safe to use Windows Server 2008?
Failure to plan for Windows Server 2008 end of life will expose your business to three different kinds of risk: security, performance and compliance.
- Security: security updates are a vital weapon in the battle against computer viruses and malware that facilitate cyber-attacks. The absence of relevant features and fixes post end of life will leave your server operating system – and your business – vulnerable to this criminal activity.
- Performance: the latest server operating systems contain new features designed to improve performance; features your business will miss out on if you fail to take action.
- Compliance: without mainstream or extended support, your business could be subject to non-compliance. You might fail an independent audit, for example, or you may struggle with PCI compliance if you accept credit card payments.
What’s the best route to change?
Businesses that fail to adopt positive change due to a lack of knowledge only have themselves to blame when financial and operational risk become reality. Having a clear understanding of your options before and after Windows Server 2008 end of life will leave you well-placed to implement innovative technologies. These options fall into two categories: migration or upgrade.
Migrate to Azure
- Rehost Windows Server 2008 to Azure.
- Get three years of Extended Security Updates free of charge, before upgrading to a current version in the future.
- Manage cost and resources, and strengthen security and compliance using Azure hybrid.
Upgrade to Windows Server 2016 or 2019
- Upgrade directly to Windows Server 2016.
- There is no direct path to upgrade from Windows Server 2008 to 2019. Therefore, you must move to Windows Server 2012 then 2016 first.
- Your IT infrastructure will benefit from improved security, reliability and flexibility. For example, Windows Server 2019 will enable you to bridge your datacentre with the public cloud more effectively.
- Your business will reduce maintenance costs while simultaneously improving its operational processes.
Businesses are advised to migrate or upgrade before extended support ends; a proactive approach that will allow you to benefit from the latest product innovations and receive ongoing support.
How to implement your project
You’ve completed your risk assessment, evaluated your options and decided which is the best fit for your business. Now it’s time to plan your implementation strategy: will you budget ahead or adopt a phased approach?
Whether you choose to migrate or upgrade, budgeting ahead allows you to keep technology updated without costs spiralling out of control. The sooner this process begins, the sooner you can deliver the project within budget at a time that’s convenient for you.
A phased approach enables you to control the impact your migration or upgrade has on your business and its customers. By staggering this process of necessary change, you can minimise technical and operational risk, while achieving your goal – uninterrupted support from Microsoft.
Technical issues to avoid
Businesses must take precautions to mitigate technical issues that may occur during the migration or upgrade. Failure to do so may increase cost and cause delays.
- Compatibility – ensure applications – Citrix, HR, CRM, ERP etc. – that aren’t delivered by Microsoft partners are compatible with Azure or Windows Server 2016. Work with application vendors to achieve this and reduce risk. Minimise user impact by testing applications separately prior to the migration or upgrade.
- Migration/upgrade – ensure your application configurations remain intact after the migration or upgrade, by implementing a strategic plan for each.
- Integration – prevent disruptions by testing applications that require integration set-up during the migration or upgrade process.
- Unsupported applications – although some applications may not be supported by Azure or Windows Server 2016, an upgrade is still possible. We can propose alternative solutions based on best security practices.
Get help from the experts
Yes, positive change will benefit your business in the long-term, but implementing it can lead to disruption in the short-term, if not managed properly. Our IT project management and business change experts specialise in helping organisations like yours execute successful transition projects. So, you can concentrate on running your business, safe in the knowledge that your IT requirements are met.
We provide specialist project management services backed by industry-leading experts, in a way that suits you. Perhaps you want us to consult your internal team, or maybe you need the entire project managing from start to finish. Whatever level of service you require, your business will experience a seamless transition from the old to the new.
Save time and money without compromising on quality or taking risks. We pride ourselves on delivering on time, on budget and with exceptional results.