Windows Server 2008 and End-of-Life

Thu, Apr, 18, 2019 @ 13:04 PM

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Windows Server 2008 & R2 end of life is drawing near.

Sagiss CTO Jim Lancaster discusses the hot topic of Windows Server 2008 end-of-life and covers the key reasons why businesses should plan to migrate from the aging software as soon as possible.  


Q: What is End-of-Life?

The term end-of-life (EOL) means end of support from Microsoft, so they have several versions of that. One of them is end of regular support, which means that you can no longer get patches for free anymore. they And then for some of their bigger enterprise customers such as General Motors for example, they can continue to get patches, but they've got to pay for them and that is very limited circumstances. But for the vast majority of us, end-of-life means that Microsoft no longer supports, no longer releases patches, and longer provides telephone support for their products. It's not just Microsoft that stops supporting, it’s the vendors that write software for that operating system too which is maybe even more important in some cases.

Q: What is the history of Windows Server 2008?

Jim Lancaster: Microsoft Windows Server 2008 came out and they made a lot of changes to the user interface. Some of them were very awkward and so probably a year later, maybe 18 months later, they came out with the 2008R2 to fix those UI issues made it look and feel more like Windows than the original 2008 release. It was a very good operating system: very stable, very robust and ran for a long time, but software gets old and they quit supporting it and it’s time to move on.

Q: What is the primary reason to migrate from Windows Server 2008?

Jim Lancaster: To me my primary concern about a Windows 2008 server would be security. How do I protect it?  How do keep hackers out of it and that sort of thing. That software was not written to withstand the kind of punishment that servers are taking now out on the internet. It wasn't hardened to the degree that servers have to be hardened now and I think security would be the principle concern for somebody who's considering whether or not to upgrade that 2008 server. These are the same concerns of compliance issues too because compliances really related to security.  How do you maintain any kind of compliance on an obsolete operating system and the answer is you can't.  So whether you're HIPAA-regulated or you've got insurance compliance or you've got customers that are requiring you to be in compliance with their own IT requirements, you're not going to be able to meet those compliance requirements on 2008 and it's principally because of the lack of security.

The reality is that we live in a global economy, and while you can say that we are not under the regulations of GDPR in the United States--that it is a European regulation--the fact of the matter is, is that if you do business with anybody in the European Union you have to be in GDPR compliance. So, the newer versions of the server are GDPR compliant, but in the 2008 version that is now 11 years old, it was created long before any of that.

Q: What are other reasons to migrate?

Jim Lancaster: What interesting in this case is that we have an option that we didn't have really before for the last upgrade. Microsoft is really encouraging folks to consider Azure. So instead of buying server hardware like we did maybe for this generation of 2008, instead of buying a new server and buying the server OS and buying the client access licenses and doing all of that, Microsoft will essentially give you the server license in the client access licenses if you move your server up to Azure. You're paying rent on the server, but it is where things are going. It is more secure. People will make arguments about whether it's more cost effective to be on Azure or not, but I think it's really more about security, stability and about maintaining accessibility.  What's built into Azure now is this idea that you should be able to get your data from anywhere. Really the whole thing is built from the ground up for a kind of universal access. For day-to-day operations, there is really no reason to have a Windows 2008 server online.

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