Quite simply, end of life coming on October 10 means no more security updates, feature updates, bug fixes, technical support, or online technical content updates. The big risk though, relates to the first of those ‘no mores’: security. When Microsoft is no longer actively developing and supporting the operating system, your servers are exposed. At CodeBlue we call these ‘Distressed Servers’ and we can no longer guarantee service level agreements for hardware or applications running on end-of-life software.
Your 4 options
Now, while you really don’t want to end up with Distressed Servers, they are out there and maybe even in your server room. The real question becomes, what to do about it. There are essentially four options, and I’ll list them in order of preference:
- Lift, shift and virtualise on Microsoft Azure. By far the best option, this is rapid, has minimal disruption to your operations, and gives you three years of Extended Security Update support in Microsoft Azure. There is no change to anything else; your applications and everything else keep running just as they always did, except it’s now in the cloud. There’s no need for the old hardware or associated on-premises support costs, either. But just like end of support for Windows Server 2012 rolled around before you knew it, those two years will pass. Use the time wisely for a planned permanent solution. It is highly likely that, with the availability of a vast range of additional services and functions in Azure, you’ll modernise and stay on the platform.
- Use Azure Arc and access Extended Security Updates. This is a bit of a ‘plan B’ which will incur additional costs, but does buy you time. The trouble is, Azure Arc isn’t guaranteed to work on every server, and on a case by case basis – means extra complexity. There’s the possibility of remaining exposed if ARC can’t take care of your servers.
- Migrate and modernise to Azure Platform as a Service. This was the ideal option a year or more ago. With appropriate planning and provisioning, your applications and servers are brought into the modern world with minimal business disruption. It’s a bad idea now because end of life is just weeks away. You do not want an accelerated, high risk, major undertaking with such a short deadline.
- Do nothing. Don’t go for this option. Your business is exposed, the risks are real and present, and it is just an extremely bad idea.
There isn’t a lot of time remaining. If you have Windows Server 2012 deployments and haven’t yet got a plan for sorting them out, get in touch with us ASAP. We’ll talk you through the implications and the best way forward, and make sure that when October 10 arrives there aren’t any interruptions. Ensure your infrastructure and services are secure at least in the short/medium term, while a lasting solution is found.