By Nick Scheidies Posted January 31, 2019
With the end of life for Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008 coming soon, IT admins need to start thinking about how to replace Windows Server 2008. By taking action now, organizations can limit their risk and exposure to the EOL process of Server 2008.
When is EOL for Windows Server 2008?
Microsoft will end support for their Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system on January 14, 2020—nearly 12 years after it was released on February 27, 2008. This change will impact all three Windows Server 2008 R2 editions (Datacenter, Enterprise, and Standard).
Do You Really Need to Replace It?
The short answer is yes. It’s not that Windows Server 2008 will stop working altogether in January 2020, but it will stop being supported by Microsoft at that time. Generally, IT organizations don’t want to be on unsupported versions of software for a wide range of reasons including security, risk of downtime, and lack of new capabilities.
New security threat? Don’t expect a patch on the way. Troubleshooting a problem? Don’t expect to be able to ask Microsoft’s support team for help.
So whether or not you really need to replace your Windows Server 2008 comes down to your tolerance for risk, downtime, and inefficiency. Most organizations will decide that they really do need to replace Windows Server 2008.
The Challenges of Updating Core Infrastructure
For some, like those relying on Windows Server 2008 for Active Directory® and their domain controller, the prospect of replacing Windows Server appears daunting. For these organizations, Windows Server is functioning as the foundation for their management of IT resources.
The solution may not be as easy as simply switching over to newer versions of Windows Server that are still supported. Before purchasing a shiny new Windows Server 2016, make sure to survey the total impact this may have on your infrastructure and operations.
Two Paths to Replacing Windows Server 2008
“One strategy is to invest in new hardware and software, and another is to consider cloud solutions to deliver services like email, accounting and business management.”
Reno Gazette Journal
The EOL of Windows Server 2008 places IT organizations at an important crossroads. To the left is the continuation of the same path they’ve been on: purchasing a new physical server to store and maintain on-premises. To the right is the new way of doing things: a cloud-based server that you don’t need to store, configure, or maintain.
Of course, organizations that choose to continue with an on-prem server will be able to adequately replace Windows Server 2008. It may not be easy and it may not be cheap, but it’s certainly a viable path. Then, in another five or ten years, it will be that server’s EOL and you’ll be faced with another crossroads.
But it’s no surprise that a large number of Windows Server 2008 customers are thinking about shifting various Server 2008 functions to the cloud instead. There are a lot of benefits to this approach, as the cloud has proven time and time again to be remarkably versatile, affordable, efficient, and scalable. Maintenance and troubleshooting is somebody else’s job. For those relying on AD and domain services, a new cloud directory service can be an excellent option to replacing Windows Server 2008.
Get Ahead of The Curve
January 2020 is still a year away. But replacing Windows Server doesn’t exactly happen overnight. The only way to get ahead of the curve is to begin planning for your sever’s EOL right away. Begin the process of evaluating your needs, vetting your options, and consulting with your trusted IT advisors today.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to replace Windows Server 2008. But if you’re using it for your directory services, then you certainly should include JumpCloud®’s Directory-as-a-Service® offering in your evaluation. JumpCloud can replace Active Directory with its robust feature set, including group-based system and user management (see example). To learn more, attend our weekly webinar or sign up for a free account to get started.