Heading straight for the ‘End of Support’ cliff

What this means and how to get the curve in time.

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We are heading for a crucial deadline affecting many businesses – yet, few are aware of: By January 14th 2020, the Extended Support period for several of Microsoft’s popular products will end, notably for Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows 7.

What does ‘End of Extended Support’ mean?

The Extended Support period itself is already a transitional phase, between the end of Mainstream Support, where regular updates and support are provided and the termination of all support and updates, including critical security patches. During the Extended Support phase, security updates are still provided, but customers need to pay Microsoft an additional fee for any support case. The costs for those typically range between $500 and $700 per case. In no way will Microsoft accept requests for warranty support, design changes, or new features, however.
When a product reaches the end of Extended Support, Microsoft will no longer provide the Extended Support or security upgrades, leaving an organisation at significant risk, if it is continuing to rely on one of these solutions.

What consequences can this have for a business?

First of all, there is the security threat, as out-of-support products do not receive security fixes or updates any more. This means, for example, servers running on the outdated product will be prone to attacks from any new, enhanced, or emerging security threat (i.e. viruses, intrusions, ransomware, vulnerabilities, etc.).
In addition to the security risk: if support is still needed, the costs for it can be horrendous. Of course, one has to additionally keep in mind the costs for business disruptions due to outages or weak performance of the products used. Poor performance is an obvious risk of using older equipment and software. According to IDC, servers over 3 years old are 60% more likely to fail.
Either way, an outdated operating system is a weak basis for implementing any new solution in a company. Often, new software solutions are incompatible with older operating systems – this can translate into a real showstopper for driving necessary new solutions and processes in a company.


So, what are the options?

Basically, for Microsoft solutions, currently there are two possible paths to take:

  • Upgrade to the latest version (Windows Server 2016, Exchange 2016)
  • Or migrate to Office 365 Exchange
  • Migrate your 2008 server applications to Azure
In this case, when deciding to upgrade, several factors should be considered:
  • Is this a server running a core business application?
  • Will the application run smoothly with a newer version of the server?
  • Should any other applications that use the server be upgraded as well, such as the Citrix XenApp, for example?

Whatever a business decides to ultimately move forward with – it is key to do so in a strategic and planful manner, ideally ahead of time, meaning before driving over the cliff of ‘the End of Extended Support’. As a trusted partner, Konica Minolta is happy to help.