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Customized Migration: The Key to Microsoft End of Support

4 Jan 2019 by Jason Wilson

Microsoft is ending support and updates for SQL Server 2008 on July 9, 2019, and for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on Jan 14, 2020. The threat of software support lapses means you need to develop a hardware and software refresh plan before end of support takes effect.

The upcoming deadlines also present an opportunity to transform your applications and infrastructure with cloud computing capabilities. Whether you simply want to update your solutions to bypass end of support or to capitalize on digital innovation, the key to addressing this change is to tailor your migration strategy to your organization.

July 9, 2019

SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 extended support ends.

Jan. 14, 2020

Windows Server 2008 and 2008 extended support ends.

Migration objectives

Before outlining your plan, however, you need to define your migration goals. Ideally, the scope of your initiative should factor in long-term digital transformation. Questions to address include:

  • What do we hope to accomplish? How can we streamline migration/upgrade efforts?
  • What are the biggest challenges and roadblocks we’re likely to encounter during a migration? How will we address them?
  • How will we incorporate data usage metrics and data protection if we opt for a cloud or hybrid cloud solution?
  • What support system will we employ to help us reach our goals?

With those questions and answers in mind, let’s look at the risks associated with failing to prepare for software end of support. We’ll also explore the benefits of developing a framework to address the product lifecycle end and implement an evergreen digital innovation plan.

Potential hazards of inaction

Once software support ends, so will security updates. That means your organization will be unprotected in a dangerous threat landscape. With the increased sophistication of cyberattacks, running apps and data on outdated software can significantly multiply your security risks.

Imagine the chaos that would ensue if hackers exploited a vulnerability in your unsupported software, resulting in a security breach. Not only would the stability of your business budget be in question, but so would your job.

Continuing to operate software without support also carries legal and regulatory risks. Organizations in the legal, medical and financial industries are required to comply with regulatory standards surrounding customer information and privacy. Failure to refresh outdated data software poses major noncompliance issues — and potential fines, business closings and even jail time.

Let’s look at some realistic possibilities for addressing end of support for Microsoft servers and keeping your organization secure and compliant.

A deeper dive: In this article, explore the top 10 things you need to know about the GDPR

End-of-support migration options

Refreshing software and hardware

For the apps and data you want to keep running on premises, I recommend upgrading to the latest version of SQL Server and/or Windows Server. To move to SQL Server 2017 and Windows Server 2016, however, you’ll first need to upgrade to SQL Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012/2012 R2.

A popular choice is to operate a hybrid cloud infrastructure, meaning a mix of storing some data in on-premise servers, running updated server software and extending a portion of your workloads to the public cloud. Organizations selecting this option can run modern hardware servers that deliver important security updates, as well as powerful increases in performance and cost efficiency.

Azure Stack, an extension of Microsoft Azure, is an example of a hybrid cloud solution. To help you digitally transform your data center, Microsoft is incentivizing migrations from SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 to Azure.

Learn more: In this infographic, learn more about the benefits of addressing Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 end of support by moving to Azure.

Migrating to a cloud infrastructure

End of support for SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 is an ideal time to move your infrastructure to the cloud. The benefits of doing so include scalability, productivity, agility and reduction in hardware costs.

It can be difficult to quickly upgrade your data center to meet the end-of-support timeline. To address this, Microsoft has announced Extended Security Updates will be available for free in Azure for 2008 and 2008 R2 versions of SQL Server and Windows Server. Taking advantage of this will give you an additional three years of workload security.

If you’re running 2008 or 2008 R2 versions of SQL Server or Windows Server in Azure Virtual Machines (VMs), you’ll get Extended Security Updates at no additional cost.

Hosting workloads in Azure

In a hosted environment, Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) combine to incorporate software, network capacity and the equipment used to support operations — such as storage, hardware, servers and networking components.

Opting for this route provides some time to plan your organization’s future data center path, including upgrading to newer software versions such as SQL Server 2017 or Windows Server 2016 — and leveraging the cloud platform and data services available in Azure.

You can purchase Extended Security Updates annually for 75% of the full license cost of the latest version of SQL Server or Windows Server. However, purchasing Extended Security Updates is only available to customers with active Software Assurance.

If you choose this hosted option, it’s crucial to build usage and data governance metrics into your cloud initiative — and to understand how they’re measured. An IT partner can help you ensure proper metrics are in place. Insight, for example, offers cloud migration preplanning to help you avoid costly issues down the road.

Modernizing your data center

Additionally, Insight’s hybrid, cloud and on-premise services and solutions cover migration planning through troubleshooting, cloud onboarding and implementation. Our strategic cloud envisioning sessions demonstrate how organizations can leverage the capabilities of the cloud — and will help you get up to speed on your cloud or hardware server solutions.

We can help with:

  • Azure Quickstart and migration services
  • Azure governance and enterprise scaffold
  • Azure infrastructure as a service
  • Identity and access management
  • Application migration
  • Deployment and desired state

Preparing for the future

Planning your migration with focus is possible with the right tools and support. By integrating best-in-class cloud and server solutions, you can take a holistic approach to your infrastructure — and reap the benefits. Let Insight help guide you through your journey toward a modern data center solution.

More insight: In this newsletter featuring research from Gartner, you’ll learn how to modernize your data center, and how Microsoft Azure provides a scalable and agile option.
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About Jason Wilson
Sr. Product Manager

Jason has more than 20 years of experience in computing software and hardware technologies — and a strong background as a business analyst in the software development process.

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