Windows and SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 End of Support: What Options Do You Have?

Every great run comes to an end and it is indeed true for one of a truly great server operating system such as Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 and one of the most widely used Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) in the last decade which is MS SQL 2008/2008 R2.

Cloud and Managed Services

2018-11-14

End of Life and risks explained

Every great run comes to an end and it is indeed true for one of a truly great server operating system such as Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 and one of the most widely used Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) in the last decade which is MS SQL 2008/2008 R2. 

Microsoft Lifecycle Policy offers 10 years of support (5 years of Mainstream Support and 5 years of Extended Support) and SQL Server 2008/R2 and Windows Server 2008/R2 will go out of support in July 2019 and January 2020 respectively.  That is less than 1 year for MS SQL and just over 1 year for Windows Server. 

 

Fig. 1 Overview of Product Lifecycle

 

As the platform workhorse of many Windows server environment, the end of extended support means these platforms will be left without support from Microsoft.  How will that impact the operations and compliance?  Here are two (2) of the biggest impact of this EOL event to the organizations. 

1. Security Risks 

 The end of extended support will mean no more security updates for these products. 

Security is of high importance to organizations. Running even one server no longer receiving security patches is leaving the door open to cyber criminals – data theft, ransomware, corporate espionage and more all become possible. 

This leaves you vulnerable to cyberattacks with a potential loss of data, because it’s virtually impossible to prevent attacks from hackers if a product contains security vulnerabilities that aren’t being fixed.  Hackers exist to prey on vulnerabilities, and end of life software provides them with ample opportunities.  

 

2. Technology Support no longer exists

What is broken will stay broken, unless the organization IT can fix it by themselves. 

While ending the extended support don’t stop the product working immediately, Microsoft will no longer provide support for them. That means if anything breaks, there won’t be a fix available. 

 

What are the options available?

 There are 3 options that organization can take to address the pending EOL of Windows Server 2008 and MSSQL 2008.  

1. Follow the traditional path  

The first option is the traditional path of upgrading to a newer version of Windows Server and SQL Server such as Windows Server 2016 and MSSQL 2016. This has been the practice of many organizations for so many years.  Not only they can keep the platform secure, compliant and supported, they also get the nes features that these new versions can offer. 

2. Microsoft has you covered!  

Microsoft have announced they will supply customers with a further 3 years of free support for Windows Server 2008/R2 & SQL Server 2008 R2…if they migrate the workloads to Azure. 

3. Stay Put 

Stay on-premised and run unsupported platforms.  With today’s security climate, the risk of running this option is almost unthinkable. 

 

Microsoft Azure to the Rescue 

 It is indeed a logical choice. Microsoft position this as a solution with no downside – not only do organizations get 3 more years to plan and execute their migration from the 2008/R2 editions, but they also get the benefits of cloud such as reduced costs, greater flexibility, and easier .

It is around the cost elements where Microsoft have been working to create a compelling offer, a package comprised of: 

Windows Server Reserved Instances 

Windows Server Azure Hybrid Rights 

SQL Server Managed Instances 

SQL Server Azure Hybrid Rights 

 

Fig. 2 Azure Virtual Machine

 

Fig. 3 Azure SQL Database

 

Windows Server Reserved Instances 

Reserved Instances provide a way for organizations to pre-purchase specific Azure virtual machines, on a 1 or 3-year basis, for significant discounts. These work particularly well for long term, stable workloads where the size of the VM can remain static over time. 

 

Windows Server Azure Hybrid Rights 

These allow Volume Licenses with Software Assurance to be used to cover Windows Server virtual machines in Azure, saving up to 40% over regular Azure costs. 

Fig. 4 Azure Reserved Instance and Azure Hybrid Benefit

 

SQL Server Azure Hybrid Rights 

Like the rights for Windows Server, these allow Azure costs to be reduced through the use of Volume Licenses with Software Assurance.  

 

SQL Server Managed Instances 

Recently introduced, these are like to having a dedicated server and deliver “close to 100%” compatibility with support as far back as SQL Server 2005. This removes a major blocker, in Microsoft’s eyes at least, to SQL workloads being moved into Azure. 

In these days of digital transformation, moving the organizations Windows 2008/R2 and MS SQL 2008/R2 workloads to Azure and taking advantage of the scalability and the cost savings make perfect sense.  It does not only address the current issue of the End of Life of the current versions but also it is a big stepping stone for the organization’s cloud adoption strategies in the long run.

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