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Windows Server 2008 & SQL Server 2008 End of Life

On July 9th, 2019 the extended support for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 ended, and on January 14th, 2020 we also said goodbye to support for Windows Server 2008/2008 R2. Until these dates, you were still able to get support and patches. Now, there are no more security updates, which is a risk to your business, data, applications and infrastructure. So, what does this mean for you?

What’s the Difference Between End of Support and End of Life?

The difference is that end of support means a vendor will no longer provide security patches, hot fixes or technical support, whereas end of life means a vendor will typically no longer sell the product or offer assistance at all. End of life indicates that the product is obsolete, and it is recommended that you no longer use the product.

For Windows and SQL Server 2008, the end of mainstream support already occurred in 2014/2015. We’re now facing the end of the extended support that Microsoft had provided, meaning January 14th, 2020 was essentially the official retirement date for these two products.

What Does the End of Life Deadline Mean For You?

These upcoming changes mean that if you’re still running Windows/SQL Server 2008, then now is the time to make your next move. Securely and accurately updating an IT infrastructure is a large, complicated task. If you don’t do anything, your company’s infrastructure won’t be secure. Your machines are running at your own risk – but with an ever-increasing amount of cyber attacks being reported, this isn’t recommended.

What Can Windows and SQL 2008/2008 R2 Users Do Now?

You have a few options for what you can do.

  • Route 1 – Upgrade – The more traditional route is to upgrade to a newer version of Windows Server/SQL Server. Upgrading your version means the best and most advanced performance and security. However, there is no direct upgrade path from on-premise Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2016 or 2019. You must first upgrade to Windows Server 2012, because of compatibility issues. Then you can upgrade to Windows Server 2016 or the newly released Windows Server 2019.
  • Route 2 – Migrate – If you want to keep your licences for a few more years, you can move your current Windows and SQL Server 2008 to an Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure cloud environment. With this method, you get 3 years of Extended Security Updates from Microsoft at no additional cost. You also take advantage of Azure’s inbuilt cloud security and 70+ compliance certifications. Because of the Azure Hybrid Benefit, your Windows/SQL Server licences also mean you could save money with Azure Virtual Machines and Azure SQL Database Managed Instance.
  • Route 3 – Do Nothing – Microsoft will be offering extended security updates for those with a Software Assurance or Enterprise Subscription agreement. It means you can still run your servers at 75% of the cost. However, this isn’t recommended because now the end-of-life deadline has hit, you are continuing to support a product that Microsoft considers obsolete. You aren’t gaining any new productivity-boosting features or fixes.
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