Nothing lasts forever, and we generally accept that with physical things. Knives go blunt, car engines, tyres and brakes wear out, your phone battery doesn’t last very long anymore. Technology in particular has what seems like a very short lifespan. PCs, laptops, phones and tablets all struggle to last 2-3 years. But what about software? How can it reach the end of its life?
The lifespan of software
As technology evolves, vendors need to add features to their software to support new and emerging technologies that users want to exploit. Sometimes features can be bolted into software, but over time, this makes it bloated, unwieldy, slow, and eventually, unreliable. Security is also a concern. Vulnerabilities are frequently found inside software, and patches are developed to plug those holes. However, these have the same impact of causing bloating, so patching ad-infinitum is never practical. Sometimes, the only way to fix a flaw in a building is to knock it down and rebuild from the ground up.
Windows Server 2012: Ceasing support
The solution is to rewrite the software with those new features and patches embedded from the ground up, working efficiently so as not to adversely affect the end product. Software, just like everything else, has a lifespan. This year it is the turn of Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2. On the 10th of October, they will cease to be supported by Microsoft, having already been superseded by Windows Server 2016, 2019 and 2022.
This means after that date; Microsoft will no longer be releasing security patches or updates for the operating system. Once the deadline has passed, servers running these versions of Windows will represent security gaps for all organisations still using them. They will also represent a target for cybercriminals, armed with the knowledge that any newly discovered vulnerabilities will provide them with easy pickings within organisations that have failed to keep up to date. Other software vendors will also stop supporting their solutions if they run on these servers or prevent their software from working on them altogether.
The impact on your business
If you’re using these operating systems, they need to be replaced. But with what? Updating the operating systems to a later version comes with a lot of capital expenditure for no real gains. Firstly, the server hardware will likely need to be replaced, secondly, there would be a need to purchase expensive licenses and thirdly, what you’re left with is an environment that, whilst now up to date and supportable, hasn’t actually moved that far forward. Old fashioned and inefficient working practices will remain. The actual migration itself, to new servers would also come at a relatively high cost, and a certain amount of disruption. Then, in 5 years time, you’ll have to do it all over again.
The alternative: cloud migration
The alternative, and superior option is to use this as an opportunity to start migrating into the cloud and removing servers from your environment. Do that once, and you’ll never have to do it again. Talk to us about analysing what your old servers are doing. Taking data and applications to the cloud is easier than ever before, and can make your business more efficient, flexible, reliable, and secure by utilizing tools within the Microsoft 365 stack. In many cases, the licenses you already own could entitle you to all the tools you would need to run your business in the cloud, meaning that a cloud migration may even be more cost-effective.
Don’t leave it too late
There’s 9 months left to the deadline, so enough time remains to eliminate the risk before it becomes reality. Don’t leave it too long though. Contact us to discuss your options.