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Windows Server 2008 end of life date
Microsoft announces Windows Server 2008 (R2) end of life date once again. The first end of date would be Jan 13, 2015, also known as Mainstream Support end date. This time, the end of date is Jan 14, 2020, which is Extended Support end date.
The end of Mainstream Support means that that Microsoft will no longer improve the product, accept warranty claims, or provide non-security hot fixes. While the end of Extended Security Updates means that bug fixes and security updates will no longer available. Here is some information on Server 2008 (R2) Service Pack 1/2 lifecycle start and end dates.
In general, regular updates include free security updates on-premises, non-security updates, free support options and online technical content update are not provided any more. That indicates the real end of one operating system.
Windows Server 2008(R2) end of life risks
As mentioned earlier, from January 14, 2020, Microsoft will not provide any security updates and vulnerability patches, therefore your computer will be more volnerable to security risks. EternalBlue and BlueKeep are 2 powerful vulnerabilities cyber criminals frequently exploit in the recent years, which lead to huge data loss. WannaCry in 2017 is the most typical example.
In addition, there are some common risks you need to know:
1. Compliance issues
Many organizations need to follow the security rules to keep your equipment up to date regarding compliance. If you are still running Windows Server 2008(R2) past its expiration date, your business will no longer be compliant.
2. Increased operational costs
It's really expensive for an organization to maintain an outdate opersting system, except for the basic maintainance, you still need to do more to enhance its security. In addition, the outdated software on your computer will greatly increases the risk of spreading malware.
Windows Server 2008(R2) end of life: Pay for extended support
Even now, Microsoft has anounced the end of Windows Server 2008(R2) Extended Support, it is still alive. For enterprises, you could consider paying for Microsoft’s Extended Security Update Program to continue to receive fixes for next three years. Windows Server 2008(R2) extended support cost for an annual fee is about 75% of the license price. But this support is only until 2023, at that time, it's real end. Thus, you can use it as a "last resort", not a long-term solution.
Windows Server 2008(R2) end of life: Migrate to Microsoft Azure
Actually, Microsoft provides a way for Windows Server 2008 users to extend security updates. Here is a quotation from their technical website: “Customers who use Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 products and services should migrate to Microsoft Azure to take advantage of 3 additional years of Critical and Important security updates at no additional charge and modernize when ready.”
That is to say, you can get another 3 years of protection by migrating to Microsoft Azure. Nevertheless, not all products are qualified to the migration rule. Only products in the chart below are able to do the migration.
For more information, if you own one of following products, you have to seek another way out since they are not eligible to the Extended Security Updates. These products are coming to their real end. Don’t worry, you may check out the next solution.
Windows Server 2008(R2) end of life extended: Upgrade operating system to higher versions
For users who own products that are not able to migrate to Microsoft Azure and who don’t want to migrate to that service, one of acceptable solutions is to upgrade Windows Server 2008 (R2) operating system to higher editions, such as Server 2012, Server 2016 or latest Server 2019. (Click to get Windows Server installation and upgrade guide)
Besides, you may need to do some infrastructure updates like drivers updating, physical hard drive upgrading, etc. eventually for better compatibility with new operating system in the future.
Windows Server 2008(R2) end of life extended: Add protection for important data in Server 2008 (R2)
No matter which method you prefer, the first thing you need to do is creating protection for existing crucial data, especially the data of clients. Now that security updates are no longer available, we can't throw away data backups anymore. Two practical backup utilities will be recommended for different backup conditions.
For users who own one or two Windows 2008 Servers, AOMEI Backupper Server edition is recommended. This comprehensive software embeds with various backup and cloning options. In terms of Backup, you have System Backup, Disk Backup, File/Folder Backup, Partition Backup and File Sync. Additional features would include schedule backup (daily, weekly, monthly, event-trigger, etc.) and backup scheme (incremental, differential, etc.).
Cloning feature is quite help in upgrading hard drives. For example, you can clone Windows Server 2008 hard drive to desired disk without reinstalling operating system. System Clone and Partition/Volume Clone are also available. You can also create bootable drive to backup or clone disk without Windows.
For server users who have client machines, AOMEI Centralized Backupper comes to help. This software plays an important role in centrally backup management for large-scale clients. It has all features mentioned in AOMEI Backupper Server and allows you to manage clients’ backups from one single console. Save time and energy.
The bottom line
Windows Server 2008 (R2) comes to end of life is unavoidable, but we can do some preparations to response it smartly. You can choose to pay for extended support, migrate to Azure, upgrade to higher versions after the end date, or keep using it without any further security updates or bug fixes. Yet it is strongly recommended to create backups for vital data on the server.
If you want to protect unlimited PCs and servers within your company, you may choose AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus. It offers unlimited billable technical services to clients. It also enables you to copy installation directory for portable version creation.