Extended Security Updates for SQL Server, Windows Server and Windows 7 not available to SMBs

Microsoft has a 10 year support lifecycle for their on-premises software. Some of their software is close to the End of Extended Support. An overview:

July 9, 2019: SQL Server 2008 and 2008R2, Enterprise and Standard
January 14, 2020: Windows Server 2008 and 2008R2, Datacenter, Enterprise and Standard
January 14, 2020: Windows 7 Enterprise, Professional

The risk
After end of extended support, Microsoft will no longer release security updates, bug fixes and updates for the software. This means that organizations still running the software are at immediate risk.
A security risk because they will be more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks, malware, phishing and other internet based risks. A financial risk because legacy software costs a lot of money to maintain. A compliance risk, because various ISO and NEN standards, Industry Standards and the GDPR require ‘in support’ software. Doing nothing is not really an option.

Extended Security Updates (not for SMBs)
For those organizations who need to maintain these older out of extended support software, Microsoft offers Extended Security Updates (ESU). This is a service where Microsoft keeps issuing security updates (not bug-fixes and updates) for those customer who bought the updates. Please note, that the price of these updates are approximately 75% of the licensing price of the corresponding product, per year.
Here is the catch! The Extended Security Updates are only available through contracts such as the Enterprise Agreement. At itself, those are contracts for large Enterprises, one would need a minimum of 500 desktops or users to start such an Agreement. With that, we may conclude that SMBs don’t have that option.

What to do?
We must divide the options into two parts. Software which cannot be upgraded or moved to the cloud. For those situations there is not much left than pray (and … uncouple your machines from the internet for starters).
For the software which can be upgraded to a higher version or can be moved to the cloud, those are essentially the two options SMBs have. Windows 7 can be upgraded to Windows 10. Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 – all editions – can be upgraded to the 2016 or 2019 version. With SQL Server it is a bit more complicated. Organizations can either upgrade the on-premises SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2 to SQL Server 2017 (and soon 2019). But shifting the old SQL Server 2008 / R2 server to the SQL Managed Instance on Azure is also a possiblity. With that no upgrade needs to be done because the Azure solution is ‘boxed’, where Microsoft ensures that your SQL server will keep working aligned with our applications. Above all, within Azure organizations will get the Extended Security Updates for free for up to three years after the End of Extended Support date. That will leave you with plenty of time for an upgrade in the cloud. Interesting option.

How to do it?
Are you a SMB and wondering if you are running legacy software? Here is the best practice approach:
• All good upgrade and migration plans start with a discovery of the current deployment. We can help you do that
• After the research you will know which legacy software you are running in your IT estate (and we know, it can be a big surprise)
• Confer with your application vendor is their software is supported on higher versions (especially Windows Server and SQL Server)
• Make a plan to either upgrade the software of plan for a migration to the cloud (we can help with that too)
• Prioritize your plans on the upcoming end of support dates. Plan a proof of concept before broad rollout

Need help?
Out of experience we know that all is easier said than done. Secondly, you will need resources and staff to prepare on time. Good to know, the specialists at Quexcel can help you! We have the knowledge, experience and strategic contacts at Microsoft to turn our help into your advantage. Please contact us for more information.

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