As we reach the end of the extended support phase for Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 (July 8, 2019, for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 and January 14, 2020, for Windows Server 2008/2008), we will essentially be running those machines at our own risk. Even though this is just not good news in this era when cyber attacks are common currency, there are a few steps you can take to save them both on the land and in the cloud.
Upgrade To a Newer Version
This is the first and more traditional approach. Why would you risk running apps and data on unsupported versions can create significant security and compliance risks? By upgrading to a newer version of Windows Server and SQL Server, you get the most updated features and a solid security landscape. The latest versions of Windows Server and SQL Server available are Windows Server 2019 and SQL Server 2017. You have two options here: you can upgrade to the on-premises versions or, as Microsoft recommends, the cloud version on Azure.
Azure Hybrid Use Benefit
If you are not ready to upgrade to the latest version yet, Microsoft has a few options for those companies that want to continue on Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 and SQL 2008/2008 R2. Microsoft offers the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit so can companies can move to Azure and save money at the same time. You will achieve the lowest cost of ownership when you combine the Azure Hybrid Benefit, reservation pricing, and extended security updates, and also get free extended security updates when you migrate your Windows Server and SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 workloads to Azure virtual machines.
Extended Security Upgrades
The last option is to run Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 and SQL 2008/2008 R2 for 75% of the current operating system cost and continue to receive security updates, but you don’t eliminate security and compliance issues. For this extended support, Microsoft requires that you have a Software Assurance or Enterprise Subscription agreement. Customers will only receive three years of these extended security updates, instead of the six years they would have received with the old Premium Assurance. However, on the FAQ part of the extended support announcement, Microsoft says they will honor the commitment for those who have already bought the Premium Assurance.
End-of-support can be an uncertain time. But this can be the best time to advance your datacenter and cloud-migration strategies, set the stage for greater business growth, and transform your applications and infrastructure to take advantage of cloud computing and the latest versions of SQL Server and Windows Server.