Microsoft Officially Retiring SQL Server and Windows Server 2008

Cyber attacks are at an all-time high. The sophistication and frequency of these attacks have caused alarm for many Microsoft users over the last few years. Microsoft has responded by updating to supported versions of many of its online products. Therefore, in July 2019, Microsoft will officially retire SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 to keep up with security demands.

Users with the soon-to-be-outdated servers should upgrade to the most current versions to benefit from improved performance, higher efficiency, and tighter security. The end of the 2008 server support gives all users the opportunity to transform their applications and utilize the cloud platform and the new version of SQL. Companies across the board are currently rehosting numerous applications to Azure, allowing developers to transform and develop new applications using more advanced Azure services. Furthermore, Microsoft offers new options and tools to help customers manage the transition into the new SQL server.

Azure Users Get Free Extended Security Updates

Extended Security Updates are available for free in Azure for 2008 R2 versions of SQL Server and Windows Server. Users have more time to rehost workloads to Azure with no application code change and upgrade to the latest version of SQL Server 2017 or Windows Server 2019. SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 can also be moved with no application code change, and virtually zero continuity disruptions to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance. Azure SQL Database Managed Instance should be available later this year.

Existing Azure Hybrid licenses and features are still available upon SQL Server, and Windows Server environments migration to Azure Virtual Machines or Azure SQL Database Managed Instance. Customers with Software Assurance save up to 55 percent on the cost of running SQL Server and Windows Server in Azure.

Full Protection with On-Premises Upgrades

Microsoft clients should upgrade to the latest version of SQL Server and Windows Server to keep running current apps and data securely. SQL Server 2017 and Windows Server 2016 include built-in security features to improve optimal performance on all platform infrastructures. Today’s servers can offer core security features, improved performance, and cost-effective solutions that meet primary needs in all data centers. Azure Stack also offers hybrid cloud solutions for companies that need a secure and reliable platform.

Businesses with on-premises servers may also purchase Extended Security Updates for three more years. This option is available to customers with Software Assurance or Subscription licenses under the Enterprise Agreement Enrollment. Clients can purchase security updates annually to cover all server updates. This setup allows for a smooth transition into Microsoft Azure.

3 Options for Microsoft Azure Users

Option 1

Users can upgrade to the new version of Windows Server and SQL Server. Doing so will allow users to updates all the latest features and security components. A new update is available for Windows Server 2019. SQL Server 2017 is also available. Microsoft Azure offers both the on-site version and the cloud version.

Option 2

Clients that do not want to upgrade to the latest server versions can migrate the 2008 Servers to Azure by using the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit. The only associated costs would include configuration and infrastructure. Azure also offers Reserved VM Instances for Windows Server and Azure SQL Database Reserved Capacity. These features can save users additional money in computing.

Option 3

Companies can choose to stay where they are without using Azure or any other product. Microsoft will grant security update extensions at 75% of the costs for the current OS. Users must have a Software Assurance or Enterprise Subscription Agreement. Customers can only benefit from this option for the next three years.

The Risk of Compliance Gaps or Security Attacks

What can users expect if they choose not to upgrade to the new SQL and Windows servers? The two most significant risks are compliance gaps and security attacks. With nearly twenty percent of all organization being subject to cyber attacks over the last year, the risks are too high for companies to ignore the updates. Corporations and small businesses alike are expected to lose over $8 trillion in revenue due to cyber attacks by 2022. Without a secure server, businesses have almost no real protection against criminal activity.

In addition to cyber crimes, today’s tech-driven businesses also need a stable server in which analyze, share, and use data. Updating a server is an integral part of any digital transformation where data is involved. Organizations must also look beyond their internal infrastructure. They must also consider employees and customers. Server updates combined with Microsoft Azure’s features can help employees increase productivity and improve User experience (UX) on all online and cloud-based platforms. Without a capable server in place, employees and clients could suffer from a less-than-desirable platform.