In Summer 2018, Microsoft announced the end of support dates for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on July 9 2019, and for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on January 14 2020.
These dates mark the end of patches and security updates and for organisations using the affected versions of this software the question is not ‘if’ you will upgrade, but ‘when’ and ‘how’ you will move forward. With cyberattacks becoming more sophisticated and frequent, running apps and data on unsupported versions can create significant security and compliance risks.
A strategy that involves taking no action is simply untenable as it will expose applications and workloads to unacceptable risks. Cyberattacks will exploit any known vulnerabilities, placing sensitive business and client data in the firing line.
The good news is that there is still time to develop your migration plan and we at Insight are here to help.
Seize the opportunity
We understand that in the past there may have been a reluctance to upgrade because the applications you need to run your business are reliant on databases powered by an older version of SQL Server.
But in many cases, applications can be moved with little or no code change. And aside from the additional security guarantees, there are a range of performance enhancements and cost savings to be made by using newer technology.
End of support events should be viewed as an opportunity to upgrade your infrastructure, rather than a barrier to be negotiated. The first step is to decide which migration path you want to take.
Moving to Azure
If you’ve been waiting to make the jump to the cloud, an end of support event can provide a compelling milestone to drive change forward. Affected SQL Server and Windows Server workloads can be rehosted on Microsoft Azure with no changes to code, while you can re-use existing licences.
You might be thinking it will be difficult to complete the migration before the end of support deadlines. In anticipation of this challenge, Microsoft is offering three years of extended security updates at no additional charge.
This gives you time to move workloads to the cloud and then upgrade to a newer version, such as SQL Server 2017 and Windows Server 2017. Not only will these platforms be safeguarded by Microsoft’s investments in security, it will also allow your organisation to take advantage of new cloud-based services.
Upgrading on-premise environments
While the cloud is the most effective migratory path, we recognise that some workloads can’t be taken off-premise for security or compliance reasons.
For applications and data you wish to keep on-premise, then you will need to upgrade to SQL Server 2017 and Windows Server 2016, both of which offer performance enhancements and in-built security. End of Service is a time to consider refreshing your server infrastructure, taking advantage of the greater efficiencies of modern hardware and hyperconverged systems.
Again, this migration path might take longer than the time available before support is withdrawn, so Microsoft is offering customers the chance to purchase three years of extended security updates.
The hybrid route
Of course, you could choose to mix and match both approaches by adopting a hybrid strategy.
Hybrid cloud allows organisations to take advantage of the flexibility and innovation afforded by the public cloud while maximising investments in existing technology. This approach may also be useful in meeting regulatory and compliance requirements by keeping certain workloads on-site.
All of the constituent components act independently of each other, but also interact to provide services for employees and customers. It’s a long-term solution and one that makes sense for organisations not ready to move everything to the cloud or are constrained by regulations or budget.
What to do now?
The clock is ticking, but it’s not too late to devise the optimum course of action for your organisation.
1. Identify affected workloads
The first step is to see which applications are supported by SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2. You should then create an inventory of all workloads that you need to upgrade.
2. Choose the right migration path
Once you have visibility of which workloads are affected, you should determine how to migrate each one. Will you move all instances to the public cloud with Microsoft Azure and upgrade to a newer version of each software, or will you upgrade your on-premise architecture?
3. Allocate appropriate resources
Ensure your organisation has the resources and budget needed to complete the migration. After all, some of these applications might be business-critical.
4. Do it yourself or find a partner?
It’s possible to do the heavy lifting yourself, but Insight can make life easier. As a trusted Microsoft partner, we can take a look at your existing environment to identify affected workloads and offer recommendations on how to best migrate.
Regardless of whether you want to move all, some, or none of your workloads to Microsoft Azure, we have the expertise and migratory services to support you.
Why not read ‘Why cloud is the new normal’?