Chris Barr, Technical Director, Answers your Critical MS End of Support Questions

As Microsoft has announced that Extended Support for Windows Server 2008 & SQL Server 2008 will soon come to an end, organisations will of course have many concerns and questions.  Whilst we will be speaking to all of our customers who will be affected and building a plan that suits individual system architectures, our Technical Director, Chris Barr, wanted to address some key Q&A’s that business owners are likely to have.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of the team here at CT.


Q – What date is end of support?

Extended Support for Windows Server 2008 & Windows Server 2008 R2 will end on January 14, 2020

Extended Support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end even sooner, on July 9, 2019 


Q – Why is this important?

There will be no further security updates, so your organisation will not be fully protected.  This will create concern for compliance implications around standards and GDPR.  Importantly, Microsoft will not support any faults with these servers.


Q – What is the latest version of Windows?

A – Windows 2019 was released on the 2nd October 2018


Q - Do I really have to upgrade? I thought AV and firewalls provide security protection.

A – Yes.  These provide network protection but don’t provide protection against flaws in operating systems. For example the WannaCry malware used a security flaw in unpatched (non-updated) devices to gain access and encrypt data.   Having AV on the devices and being behind a firewall did not prevent the malware. Users can also still bring threats into a network through downloads.


Q – This is a year away, why do I have to look at this now?

A – At this stage we need to start planning and take into consideration implications such as 3rd party applications as part of the process.  Some third party applications may not be compatible with the new operating system or may need to be updated to ensure compatibility. If left to the last minute there is a risk that the job will not be completed in before end of support.  Remember - each organisation will be different, not just because of individual system architectures but also from strategy, budget and how risk adverse the customer is or isn’t.


Q – Can I just upgrade the existing Operating System?

A – Possibly, although not Microsoft’s best practice - if the existing server does not run other applications which may be affected by the upgrade (such as Exchange) and the hardware meets the requirements. The original version of Windows needs to be 64 bit. 


Q- Why is a migration to a new server better?

A – A new clean server is migrated and then applications and data moved over, this prevents any existing issues from being inherited in the upgraded server.


Q – I’m fed up of upgrading my server every time MS decide to withdraw a product, can I just move to the cloud and forget about the infrastructure?

A – Possibility, services such as Exchange Online are continually updated avoiding the need to refresh servers to newer versions – we would need to identify the business services and determine which of these could be migrated.


Q – Is there any benefit to my business other than ensuring we continue to get updates and MS support?

A –The new resilient file system ReFS introduced in server 2016 can provide benefits in terms of tiered storage for improved performance and deduplication of data to greatly reduce disk space usage.

There is greater cloud based integration such as with Azure File Sync can integrate a server with Azure storage to provide a seamless cross site experience that links the local and Azure cloud based storage.


SQL Server 2008 Questions


Q – What is the latest version of SQL server?

A – SQL server 2017 was released on the 2nd October 2017.


Q - Do I really have to? Everything works OK on my application.

A – Yes – software providers can also remove support where system requirements are not met (such as current versions of servers). Even if the software provider continues to support SQL 2008 Microsoft wont.


Q- Can I just upgrade SQL server?

A – Possibly if the hardware and operating system meet the requirements of the new version, the original version of SQL also needs to be 64 bit.


Q – This is a year away, why do I have to look at this now?

A – This upgrade will most likely impact the application that it supports, we will need to work with the 3rd party application provider to determine requirements and create a plan to implement the upgrade.