It’s been on the horizon for a long time, and now, it’s finally happened: Microsoft has announced the end of free product support for MS Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2. As of January 14, 2020, customers will no longer receive free upgrades or extended support services.
For a lot of small and medium-sized companies, the urge to panic might be irresistible. According to a pair of 2017 surveys of the marketplace, 8% of all Server 2008 and 2008 R2 customers globally were in the UK, the majority being businesses with less than 1000 employees.
There are tens of thousands of businesses in the UK still running Windows Server 2008 / R2 – are you one of them? The potential for severe problems if the transition to a supported version is not managed correctly ought to be evident. But what’s a company to do?Contact us
Why Not Leave Things Be?
End of support, means, quite simply, the end of protection. The cessation of security upgrades will leave companies and their customers vulnerable to cyber-attacks. What’s more, the end of support means the end of innovation. Websites and apps will begin to look outdated, and a company could soon look like it’s part of the “Dead Web.”
General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) requirements in the EU also make updating servers essential. 2008 standards for protecting personal information will no longer be sufficient. If companies do not keep up, they’ll run into legislative issues.
Failure to act is not an option.
Migrate Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to Azure
Luckily, Microsoft Azure has arrived. Compete 366 can help you achieve a smooth transition from Server 2008/2008 R2, at minimal cost and disruption.
Microsoft is offering three years of continued product support for free for Server 2008 and 2008 R2 users who transition to Azure. That makes Azure, with its wide variety of state of the art apps and solutions, the obvious choice for small and medium-sized businesses eyeing the calendar as January 14, 2020 gets closer.
However, we’ll look honestly at the options on the table first.
Three Choices (Only One Good One)
Upgrade Now: You could decide to move into an upgrade of your operating system to Windows 2016. If you have Software Assurance, and your apps support later versions, you might conclude that now is the time to upgrade. It’s a decision you might make anyway, but it is being rushed by circumstances somewhat. Depending on what kind of year you’re having, the bottom line might not support such a move right now.
Leave It Alone, Pay for Support: You could leave your servers as is, and pay for extended support from Microsoft to continue. That’s a simple, yet an expensive solution. And you won’t have access to the innovation that comes with Azure.
Migrate to Azure: You can migrate to Azure, getting three years of extended support for free. You’ve gained continued security upgrades, innovative apps and solutions, and time to consider future moves without being rushed by a deadline that’s less than a year away.
Options for Migrating Windows Server to Azure
If you’ve decided to migrate to Azure, there are a further three options, depending on your existing configurations, and plans for the future.
Build a New Server on Azure Marketplace: You can build a new 2008/2008 R2 Virtual Machine (VM) from an Azure Marketplace image. This is a pure, low risk, solution. Just install the software, and copy over your data. Now, you’ll have a clean Azure image.
Upload a VHD to Azure, and Create a VM from it: If your servers are virtualized (Hyper V or VMware), you can upload a VHD and create the VM from that. Bear in mind that Azure only supports Generation 1 VMs with VHD file format and a fixed-size disk. The maximum VHD size is 1023 GB.
Use Azure Site Recovery (ASR): Regardless of whether your servers are physical or virtualized with Hyper V or VMware, you can use ASR to migrate them. Though it can be more complicated than the first two options, using ASR has a couple of benefits. First, ASR is useful for migrating complex workloads with little downtime. Also, ASR is free for the first thirty days.
The Benefits of Migrating to Azure
If you’re still not sold on migrating to Azure, consider four main benefits of making a move:
Security and Compliance: Azure helps companies maintain cybersecurity and meet regulatory requirements like GDPR. Some key features of Azure in this category are:
–Azure SQL Database Intelligent Protection: Proactive, 24/7 threat monitoring and response.
–Azure Security Centre: Monitoring and alerts 24/7 across all applications.
–Azure Governance: Provides blueprints for regulatory compliance across all services.
Consistency in Hybrid Cloud Computing: Azure is the only genuinely consistent hybrid cloud, due to features like these:
–Identity: Azure connects all your directories to maintain brand consistency across apps and services.
–Windows Admin Centre: Easy, five-step backups thanks to Azure Recovery and Azure Backup.
-Azure File Sync: Allows bottomless file storage.
Cost-Effectiveness: With its nearest competitor, AWS, costing five times as much, Azure is in a league of its own here:
-Azure Hybrid Benefit and Reservation Pricing: Customers who migrate to Azure can save up to 55%.
-Free Extended Security Benefits: Server 2008 and 2008 R2 customers can have peace of mind for no extra cost.
Innovation Tools: A visit to the Azure Marketplace should reinforce the point that Azure offers unmatched innovation in computing. Consider just three examples:
-Azure SQL Database
-Azure App Service
Make the Move
Azure offers the secure, consistent, cost-effective, and innovative solution for Server 2008 and 2008 R2 users. January 14, 2020, can’t be put off forever. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your options, and make the leap to Azure.
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