In Blog, Server Management

Now that we have an exact date for the Microsoft® Windows Server 2008® EOL (end of life), many IT organizations are starting to work on a plan to migrate off of the platform. Microsoft will end extended support for Windows 2008 and 2008 R2 on January 14, 2020. In other words, they will no longer release security updates or bug fixes for the legacy platform. Consequently, data and resources that are tied to Windows Server 2008 or R2 will become increasingly vulnerable to attack. 

This is a big problem for admins that leverage Windows Server 2008 or R2 in their environments. Obviously, the solution is to upgrade to a modern alternative, but that’s easier said than done. Of course, Microsoft recommends migrating to Azure®—or the latest version of Windows Server (2019)—to mitigate the issue, but is that the only path forward? Let’s take a closer look below. 

An Explanation of Windows Server 2008

Over a decade after it was introduced, Windows Server 2008 has remained a workhorse for many IT organizations. Windows Server handles a wide range of functions from being the base OS for applications to file storage, identity management, file and print services, and many others. 

Also tied into the Windows Server platform is Active Directory® (AD), Microsoft’s core identity management solution, which manages Windows user identities and connects them to Windows-based IT resources. With Windows Server playing a number of critical roles, it’s easy to see why migrating off of the legacy platform can be challenging. 

Of course, a lot has changed over the past decade as well. The rise of macOS® and Linux®, web applications and “as-a-Service” solutions, and an array of non-Windows-based IT resources both in the cloud and on-prem have disrupted the pristine, Windows-centric dynamic of legacy environments. The Windows Server platform, which was never designed to fully support non-Windows IT resources, began to struggle as a result. 

Windows Server Struggles

With respect to non-Windows-based IT resources, the limitations of Windows Server manifest in a number of ways. For example, Window Server functions as the base OS for a number of legacy applications, but generally modern applications are being built in the cloud and often on the Linux platform. Similarly, the Active Directory platform (included with Windows Server) is highly tuned for Windows users and IT resources. Essentially, the issue for IT admins is that the Windows Server platform doesn’t play very nicely with anything that isn’t a Microsoft product. Yet, heterogeneous environments are common today. 

In fact, there are now more non-Windows-based IT resources than ever before in just about every category of software solution or service. In turn, IT admins and DevOps engineers have more options than ever to replace Windows Server roles with a wide range of alternative solutions. The end result is that many IT admins are migrating off of the platform entirely. The question is, what could possibly replace Windows Server?

Mitigating Windows Server Struggles

The good news is that there are a number of alternatives for IT and DevOps organizations to consider. For example, Linux is now often a base OS for a wide range of in-house developed applications. As well, many of the applications that were previously running on Windows Server are being shifted to web applications provided by third parties. DNS and DHCP services are often handled by wireless access points now instead of Windows Server. And, of course, a new generation of cloud directory service is replacing Active Directory and its associated domain controller functions.

The latter, specifically, is where JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® comes into play. The Directory-as-a-Service platform is essentially Active Directory and LDAP reimagined for the cloud era. That is, a cross-platform, vendor-neutral, protocol-driven directory service that securely manages and connects users to virtually any IT resource—regardless of the platform, provider, protocol, or location. So, for IT organizations that are trying to migrate away from Windows Server 2008, JumpCloud has your identity management angle covered. And, as IT admins know, managing a network begins with managing the user. 

Learn More About Directory-as-a-Service

Contact JumpCloud to learn more about Directory-as-a-Service, and to see how the DaaS platform fits into your Windows Server 2008 migration strategy. You can also sign up for a free account and check out our Active Directory alternative today. Your first 10 users are free forever, and there’s no limit to how long you can demo the platform.

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