Windows and SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 End of Support - free security updates in Azure

OK folks, let's talk about that stage in a Database Server or Windows Server's lifecycle in EDU that I'll call Purgatory for the purpose of this blog post.  Mainstream support has ended, the DB/OS vendor is no longer rolling out security updates, but you haven't been able to either kill off, replace or upgrade this particular server because of a host of reasons.

This will happen sooner than you might think for some servers in your environment, SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 support ends July 9, 2019 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 systems ends on January 14, 2020.  That's not too far away when you think about it.  But how did we get here?  Some reasons that I recall from my time in EDU include:

  • The Application vendor doesn't support a newer OS so I can't upgrade it.
  • The Application vendor no longer exists, I can't even find the media to re-install it!
  • I don't want to touch that thing, it's been nothing but headaches since day one!
  • I'm going directly to Containers/Service Fabric and don't want to touch these VM's for a couple of years while I build the shiny new stuff.
  • Why can't I just keep the lights on for another year?

You may have other legitimate reasons why you could find yourself running important services/applications on Windows Server without security updates - It's OK, nobody's judging here!  Well maybe your CISO or Compliance folks might . . . but let's not go there.  While we still have time to plan to avoid Server Purgatory, let's see if there's an option that won't break the bank - we are in EDU after all.  If only there were a way to buy some additional time, maybe using Azure . . .

Migrate that Physical Server or VM into Azure with free security updates for three additional yearsHere's the place to go for more details including a snackable video outlining the program and a PDF to share with the compliance folks!  The key benefits are:

  • Rehost Windows Server/SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 workloads to Azure
  • Get three years of Extended Security Updates at no additional charge, and upgrade to a current version when ready
  • Use existing licenses and save up to 80 percent on Azure Virtual Machines with Azure Hybrid Benefit and Reserved Instances

That last one is HUGE because you can bring your own Windows Server and SQL licensing (that you purchase at EDU rates) into Azure and combine that savings with Reserved Instances to bring that OpEx cost way down.

OK, sounds good, but how to I get there (Azure) from here (On-premises VMWare/Hyper-V/Physical)?  Microsoft offers a free migration tool via Azure Site Recovery and assessment tooling via Azure MigratePartner migration solutions are available as well and Microsoft Services or a regional consulting partner can help if needed.

So take a deep breath - you have time to plan for this next phase in your 2008/2008 R2 server's lifecycle.  Just remember that line from Freewill by Rush: "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

If you're still reading this post hoping to see Windows Server 2003 extended support options, sorry - nothing to report here, that ship has sailed.  If you absolutely still have Server 2003 needs, you can run it in Azure if you bring your own VHD as described and caveated here.