Your Server Is No Longer Supported...Now What?
Like any technology purchase, there will be a time where your software or hardware will become outdated. For consumers, it’s a simple matter of upgrading your cell phone or laptop. Businesses, however, face a more daunting task when software is no longer supported by the manufacturer.
Microsoft recently announced that they are discontinuing Microsoft Server 2008 (end of life January 14, 2020) and SQL Server 2008 (end of life July 9, 2019).
What does this mean for you and how do you prepare your organization’s technology infrastructure for this change?
What Happens After The Discontinued Date?
The good news is that when a device or software is discontinued, it doesn’t stop working as soon as the manufacturer flips a switch.
As a user, you may not see any difference in operations at all. That’s why some organizations get by with not updating their systems right away, and perhaps forget to take care of an update until something catastrophic happens.
When Microsoft discontinues the product, they’re announcing that they will no longer provide support or updates. While users may not see a change, a hacker will. As a basic cyber security best practice, organizations need to keep software and hardware up to date to ensure the latest security patches are installed. Security patches are released in the form of an update by the manufacturer to combat known cyber security risks. When an organization sticks with hardware or software that is discontinued, they become vulnerable to hackers that can cause a lot of damage to their systems.
What’s Next For Microsoft Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 Users?
Ideally, you should migrate off of SQL Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 before the cut-off date. There are several benefits to moving to the newer servers, including improved functionality, cutting-edge features, and greater reliability.
Organizations that upgrade before the discontinued date are more prepared to deal with migration obstacles, and they give your IT team more time to properly vet the new software against your current software. For instance, the program that is writing SQL data to the 2008 server needs to be reviewed before updating. It’s also vital to verify that the existing software can support or use SQL Server 2019. Features, or API calls, that may have been used in 2008 may have been depreciated and will not work in a newer version. Look into your migration before the deadline so you and your IT team have enough time to investigate all of these potential problems before upgrading.
Moving to Windows Server 2019 is a bit easier, usually migrations are pretty seamless. However, there are a few financial traps to avoid. Newer Windows servers do not support an older file transfer protocol called SMB 1.0. If that’s all your scanner or copier supports, you will have to upgrade any older scanners or copiers in addition to the migration. New versions of Windows servers support SMB 2.0 and 3.0. This means if you have an old Windows XP or Windows Vista machine, they also need to be replaced. While we recommend upgrading these devices anyways, it can be a pricey add-on to the new server license.
What To Do When An Update Gets Complicated
What if you just can’t upgrade due to proprietary software? What if you need more time than the deadline will allow?
There is one option available (no, it’s not to ignore the problem and keep going unpatched). You can move your existing workload (2008 servers) to Microsoft Azure. Microsoft is offering a rare opportunity. If you move your 2008 workloads to the Cloud, they will continue to offer security updates for three years free of charge. Three years at no cost should give you and your organization time to get your ducks in a row and plan for a major hardware upgrade.
There are many benefits to moving to the Cloud, one of which is over 99.9% uptime. Organizations that use Azure don’t need to fret about power loss, internet loss, cooling loss, and more. Because the software is in the Cloud, there’s no failing hardware costs. Plus, it’s known to save serious cash on your HVAC/electric bills.
Where Should You Start?
Migrating your server is a big project. Contact our team here or call us at 410.685.5512 to discuss how you can manage your server migration quickly and securely.
About Joshua Beitler
Josh monitors, updates and troubleshoots network and server systems for clients. He works primarily in Windows Server, Microsoft Office and Office 365 environments, but also has experience with automated network monitoring and data backup solutions. Outside of work, Josh is a wine enthusiast. His technology background resulted in Josh creating an app to log the different wines he’s sampled.