Today, the world is witnessing fourth industrial revolution. Everything is evolving due to rapid rise of new technologies and fusion of physical and digital spheres. Technology is the most important factor today that is bringing about this revolution. Microsoft’s technologies are no exception and its almost each day that Microsoft is updating them and improving them to make the world a better connected, developed and secure place to live and work in.
In July 2018, Microsoft announced the End of Support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in mid-2018.
The 2008 release cycle saw a shift from 32-bit to 64-bit computing, advanced analytics and budding server virtualization technology. The new decade marks the era of hybrid cloud, artificial intelligence and other technological innovations.
What does SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 end of support mean for my business?
Microsoft offers 10 years of support to its servers – 5 years for Mainstream support and 5 years as Extended Support, under its lifecycle policy.
End of Support for SQL Server will end on July 9, 2019, and for Windows Server on January 14, 2020.
End of support means Microsoft will not be sharing any security updates or any other kind of support for the 2008 Windows and SQL servers, post the deadline. Lack of security updates will increase the risk of your infrastructure and expose it to cyber-criminals. Also, with no security updates, companies can face several compliance and standard issues. Especially, with GDPR regulations in action, you should not take risk for your business and incur any penalties.
The gravity of the situation lies in the increased risk of cyberattacks and other vulnerabilities on businesses which are not running on the latest server versions.
A report by Symantec, states:
- There has been an increase of 92% in new malware downloader variants.
- 46% increase in new ransomware variants.
- 600% increase in attacks against IoT devices.
You can clearly understand the risk you can put your business in, by not upgrading the software technology.
How to prepare for SQL Server and Windows end of support?
Microsoft ensures that its customers are completely supported during this phase of transition. The company introduced two new options to help organizations transit to the new decade.
New options for SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 End of Life
With the deadlines approaching fast, customers have very less time left with them to take an action.
Microsoft suggests its users to upgrade to the latest versions of both the software. This will help them leverage software assurance benefits for reduced security risks and continued security updates. However, for the customers who will not be able to make this transition by the end of the deadline, Microsoft has introduced new options:
Extended Security Updates by Migrating to Azure
For organizations, which are still running their infrastructure on-premises, the end of life is a golden opportunity to make a shift to the cloud. However, it is easier said than done. Hence, Microsoft is offering Extended Security Updates for SQL and Windows server 2008 for free in Azure for both 2008 and 2008 R2 versions of each. The organizations can:
- Rehost their SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 in Azure SQL Database Managed Instance with little to no code changes. Thus, getting a version free platform.
- Move to Azure Virtual Machines and upgrade to a newer version when they are ready. Here also, the customers get three years of extended support at no extra charges.
- Customers can use the existing licenses and save nearly 55 percent with Azure hybrid benefit. In case of Windows Server, they can save nearly 80% on Azure VMs through Reserved Instances and Hybrid benefits in Azure.
Customers do not need to have a Software Assurance when moving to Azure. However, they might require it if they wish to leverage Azure Hybrid Benefits.
— Windows Server (@windowsserver) November 21, 2018
This seems to be the most straight-away solution i.e. to upgrade to SQL Server 2017 and Windows Server 2016.
SQL Server 2017 is built for greater performance, security, availability and innovation with intelligent cloud analytics.
Customers who are running Windows Server or SQL servers under licenses with an active Software Assurance under an Enterprise Subscription Agreement (EAS), Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) can also purchase Extended Security Updates for three years post end of support deadline. The catch however, is that the customers will be able to buy security updates only for those servers they need to cover.
It should be noted that only Datacenter, Enterprise and Standard editions of SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will be eligible for Extended Security Updates. Customers will need to get updated on the latest service pack for both the services in order to receive Extended Security Updates.
When will the Extended Security Updates option be available?
Those who opt for Azure migration, can begin migrating the workloads to Azure VMs immediately. They can apply security updates until the end of life deadline approaches. Once the deadline is over, Extended Security Updates will become automatically available for giving you continued coverage.
For those who opt for staying on-premises or on hosted environment, Extended Security Updates will be available for purchase as the deadline for end of life approaches. Microsoft will be announcing specific date for this purpose. Extended Support will be delivered immediately after the deadline ends.
Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 will include provision of security updates and other bulletins that are rated critical. These will be available for a maximum of three years post deadline.
This offer will not include:
- Any technical support. Customers will have to buy Microsoft support plans if they need assistance on 2008/2008 R2 questions.
- Any offer including, new features, design change, non-security hotfixes etc.
- There will be no retroactive effect for any of the updates that was declined by the engineering teams in the past.
How much the Extended Security Updates cost?
In Azure: Customers who are running Windows Server or SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 in Azure will be getting Extended Security Updates at no extra charges above the standard VM rates.
Customers who will be moving to Azure SQL (PaaS) database managed instance will not need the Extended Security Updates as it comes as a fully-managed solution. It is always patched and updated by Microsoft.
Hosted: Customers will have to purchase Extended Security Updates for 75% of full on-premises license cost per year and later use them in a hosted environment.
On-Premises: Customers who own any active subscription licenses or software assurance will be able to purchase the Extended Security Updates for 75% of the EA license cost annually. They can also reduce cost by paying only for the servers they need to cover and gradually upgrade the environment.
Our take on the new options
Whether you choose to stay on-premises or in a hosted environment or consider this opportunity as a chance to make your move to the cloud, the only wrong choice you can take is by not making any choice at all.
Ceased support for the servers, is a new opportunity to innovate and explore new options in the cloud or on-premises.
Contact your Microsoft partner or a cloud service provider now, to get complete help and guidance.