The end of life for support of Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 means that Microsoft will no longer improve the product, accept warranty claims or provide non-security hotfixes, these features were available during mainstream support, which ended on the 13th January, 2015.
However, Microsoft are continuing to offer bug fixes and patches for security and reliability until January 2020, which theoretically means it should be fine to keep using Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 at the moment, as long as you do not require services only available within mainstream support.
When Is the Best Time to Upgrade?
We recommend upgrading at least 6 months before the end of extended support date, which is the 14th January 2020. After this date, there will be no support whatsoever, including bug fixes, meaning that if you continue to use Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 your systems will be unprotected from any new threats.
Why Upgrade Now?
The best time to upgrade would have been before mainstream support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 came to an end. However, that time has passed so upgrading is more necessary now than before. After the end of extended support there will be no new bug fixes or patches, which will result in security holes, leaving your systems vulnerable to cyberattacks.
What Should You Do Before the End of Extended Support?
You may also need to upgrade your desktop operating systems, as the end of extended support for Windows 7 is approaching. An office wide infrastructure update may be what’s needed, and an update to Windows 10 would be a sensible approach. Depending on the size of the business, this could take some time, with just under 2 years left there isn’t a lot of time to plan and implement. You should give yourself at least 6 months leeway from the end of the extended support date, if you leave updating your Windows 2008 Server until the last minute, you will be putting your systems and data at risk.
Read our article about when support for Windows 7 will come to an end here.
Is It Safe to Continue Using Windows Server 2008 After End of Life?
Although the end of life date was 2015, you can still safely use it in your server environment until extended support expires, then we recommend not to use it as your systems will be at risk from then onwards. However, there are drawbacks to not migrating as soon as possible. You will be missing out on substantially improved performance, innovation and security, as well as the powerful virtualisation features in Windows Server 2016.
What Should You Do Next?
If you would like to learn more about upgrading from Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 please contact us on 01773 513 513 and we will be happy to discuss the best way for you to move forward and prepare for the future.