On January 14th, 2020, Microsoft ended support for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. If your business is running Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2, you’re at risk of your applications and servers no longer fulfilling their business objective. It’s imperative that you understand what end of support means for your business, explore your options, and take the necessary steps to guard your business against the potential impact of:
- No customer support
- No patches
- No upgrades
- No security fixes
MORE ABOUT WINDOWS SERVER 2008 END OF SUPPORT
What’s going on?
The Windows Server 2008 operating system is going end-of-support January 14th, 2020. In the past, if you had a problem with your server, either you, your IT partner, or your software vendor had the ability to reach out to Microsoft to get:
- Technical support
- Help troubleshooting issues
- Patches or updates
After January 14th, 2020 Microsoft will no longer provide this support. If your business runs software on the Windows Server 2008 operating system, neither you, your IT vendors, IT service providers, or custom/third-party software application developers will be able to contact Microsoft for help even if the issue originates in Windows Server 2008.
What about Microsoft Extended Security Updates?
The gist of the answer is that Security Updates are only a subset of the ‘Patches or Updates’. What’s not included?
- Fixes for defects
- Troubleshooting support issues
- General technical support
What this means is that if you encounter an issue and it does not meet Microsoft’s criteria to be included in a Security Update, you probably won’t be able to get any support on it.
How do I know if I'm affected?
To determine if you’re affected, you’ll need to know if you are already running Windows Server 2008. If you have an IT service provider, we recommend you contact it to find out.
What if I do nothing? What's the worst that can happen?
Chances are, come January 14th, 2020, you probably won’t notice any changes in your system immediately. Your server and applications may continue to run like they did on January 13th, 2020. However, your application vendors, service providers, and resellers will have likely dropped support for your applications on Windows Server 2008 (no technical support, patches, or new features) and Microsoft won’t be releasing patches and updates other than Extended Security Updates.
From this point on, if you run into an issue with your IT that’s caused by Windows Server 2008, you’ll have a hard time finding a resolution other than doing an Emergency Upgrade of your operating system. Why is this so bad? See below.
What’s an Emergency Operating System Upgrade?
All the applications that run on your server are dependent on the operating system, in this case Windows Server. If there’s a critical issue with Windows Server 2008 and you can’t get patches or updates from Microsoft, the only options you have to get your server up and running is to upgrade to a new version of Windows Server. Upgrading an operating system is neither simple nor risk-free. You can run into:
- Higher service cost of an IT technician to come do an emergency upgrade.
- Issues with your application no longer working on the upgraded OS and having to purchase new or different applications.
- Unexpected downtime, manual processing, IT security issues, and customer experience impacts depending on the functions your server and the applications are supporting.
In general, if your server runs any applications of importance to your business, you’ll want to avoid this scenario.
Won’t Microsoft have to support me?
Unfortunately, no. Microsoft’s obligation will be over. The only option you have is to get Extended Security Updates from Microsoft for Windows Server 2008. However, that doesn’t include regular patches or fixes that are not related to security.
What's the risk of something bad happening?
That’s a very difficult question to answer. It’s doubtful that even Microsoft would provide an answer to that question. You could take a look back at the history of Windows Server 2003 as a basis but there’s no guarantee that Windows Server 2008 behaves the same.
What costs should I expect/consider?
There are four primary types of costs to consider:
IT Purchase Cost
The cost of IT hardware and software products.
IT Service Cost
The cost of consulting services, installation, configuration, training, etc.
Application Downtime Cost
The increased cost of operating during the period of time when either the applications or the server itself is unavailable for use to fulfil its business or IT function.
Business Process Change
The cost and effort associated with implementing business process changes associated to the IT change.
Any IT choice will result in a trade-off among these costs and their timings. Some options will offer a low IT Purchase Cost but have higher IT Service Cost with variable ongoing IT Purchase Costs and IT Service Costs. While others may have a higher IT Purchase Costs but lower ongoing costs. Additionally, take into account the longevity of the system you put in place. If you’re going to go through the time and expense of upgrading, you don’t want to incur that cost again in another year or two.
The HPE Migration Planner can help you cut through the complexity and provide an instant recommendation based on your IT situation. Click here to start.
What options do I have?
From doing nothing (not recommended) to upgrading to Windows Server 2019, there are a number of options to choose from with their own pros and cons. To make this easy, HPE has developed a Migration Planner to help you. Answer just six questions about your IT situation to get an instant recommendation. Click here to start.
How much time do I have?
Though Windows Server 2008 End of Support will happen on January 14th, 2020, if you wait till then, you are exposing yourself to risk. Implementing any option can take anywhere from days to weeks depending on:
- The complexity of your IT
- Your procurement processes
- Your IT service technician’s availability
- The compatibility of your applications
HPE recommends you start working with an IT service provider as soon as possible to start planning. Waiting to engage with a service provider at or just before the date may lead to higher costs and lower quality as time and resources may be limited.
Should I upgrade my hardware?
Chances are, if you’re running Windows Server 2008, your server is likely several generations old and may not support Windows Server 2016 or 2019. By upgrading your server to an equivalent HPE ProLiant Gen10 Server, you gain a number of benefits:
- Security: Purchasing the industry’s most secure server.
- Reliability: Not only will you be replacing an old server but you’d be upgrading to an HPE ProLiant Gen10 server, one of the industry’s most reliable servers.
- Capability: HPE ProLiant Gen10 Servers come loaded with great features such as iLO and Intelligent Provisioning to help you and your server manage your server with less effort.
- Peace of Mind: New servers come with the option of purchasing HPE Foundation Care or Proactive Care to give you peace of mind and an SLA if anything were to go wrong with your server.
- Financing through HPE: Access to HPE Financial Services for great Windows Server 2008 upgrade financing options and options for recovering the salvage value of your existing server.
- Special Pricing: HPE has a number of Offers for Small to Medium sized business to make upgrading your IT more affordable. Learn more.
How do I choose a server?
Choosing a server requires understanding your workloads (applications and processing needs) and the associated technical requirements to support them. HPE recommends working with a partner to help you select the right server to meet your needs and help you with migrating from Windows Server 2008. To see available server options, click here.
Take your next steps
Waiting until the last minute introduces the risk of disruption to your business and unexpected costs. HPE can help guide you to a solution that protects your business and your IT budget.