We are grateful for the trust our customers have placed in Windows Server 2012/R2 as a part of their organizations for the past decade. With this release of Windows Server having launched 10 years ago, it reaches end of support on October 10th, 2023, per our 10-year lifecycle policy. After this date, no more security patches will be released for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2. To stay protected and compliant, we wanted to outline three options for customers from Azure.
Modernize with PaaS or upgrade to a newer version in Azure
Modernization provides organizations with a more future-proof solution by using a cloud-first approach or updating to a newer version. One modernization option is moving to platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions such as Azure SQL Managed Instance or Azure App Service. By modernizing workloads to a PaaS solution, customers can fully offload management and patching tasks in the cloud. This helps teams stay up-to-date, avoid future end-of-support dates, and focus on delivering innovative apps and experiences for their businesses.
Alternatively, customers can migrate and upgrade their Windows Server 2012/R2 with Azure Migrate, our free tool for discovery, assessment, and migration of workloads to Azure. With this feature, organizations can now elect to move their legacy applications and databases to a fully supported, compatible, and compliant operating system. This includes our latest release in Windows Server 2022, which provides organizations with advanced multi-layer security, hybrid capabilities with Azure, and a flexible platform to modernize applications. Learn more about this feature of Azure Migrate.
Migrate to Azure for free Extended Security Updates
If organizations are not able to modernize Windows Server 2012/R2 in time, they can use Extended Security Updates (ESUs), which provide security patches for up to three years past the end of support date.
When organizations migrate end-of-support workloads to Azure, they get free Extended Security Updates. This includes options such as Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Dedicated Host, Azure VMware Solution, and Azure Stack HCI.
Organizations can get in-depth resources to help them start their cloud journey on Azure with Azure Migrate and Modernize & Azure Innovate—our new offerings that provide end-to-end support from migration and modernization to infusing the latest innovation in analytics and AI.
Stay protected in hybrid and multicloud environments with ESUs enabled by Azure Arc
For organizations who aren’t able to modernize or migrate prior to the Windows Server 2012/R2 end of support date this October, they can protect their hybrid and multicloud workloads with ESUs enabled by Azure Arc. Here are the key benefits:
- Monthly pay-as-you-go: Activate and enroll from Azure to pay for security updates on a monthly basis, giving organizations more flexibility to migrate and modernize to Azure on their terms.
- Seamless delivery: The enrollment of Extended Security Updates on Azure Arc-enabled machines does not require the acquisition or activation of keys. Customers have the flexibility to use Azure Update Manager or another patching solution of their choice to receive the actual patches.
- Organize and inventory your assets: Gain visibility and reporting across servers spanning your hybrid, multicloud, and edge infrastructure.
- Security and compliance: Extend Azure security and governance services such as Microsoft Defender for Cloud and Microsoft Sentinel to further secure their infrastructure from cloud to edge and stay compliant with supported software.
Prepare for other end of support dates
As organizations continually modernize their estate, there are several other end of support dates to keep in mind for Windows Server and SQL Server customers:
- Upgrade Windows Server 2008 virtual machines (VMs) in Azure. If you are running Windows Server 2008 virtual machines in Azure, the fourth and final year of ESUs end on Jan 9th, 2024. After this date, no more security patches will be provided to virtual machines running this version. Organizations should plan to upgrade to the latest version to run these workloads securely and compliantly. Learn more about how to perform in-place upgrades for Windows Server.
- Prepare for SQL Server 2014 end of support. Many Windows Server customers often run SQL Server for their databases, which also has some end of support dates to be aware of. SQL Server 2012 reached end of support on July 12th, 2022, and the upcoming end of support deadline is for SQL Server 2014, which reaches end of support on July 9th, 2024. Organizations have the same three options outlined above to protect SQL Server 2014 workloads.
See the lifecycle of products supported with Extended Security Updates here.
Start modernizing for end of support
Here are a few key resources to learn more so you can be prepared for current and future end of support scenarios:
- Learn more about your options for Windows Server and SQL Server end of support.
- Learn more about Extended Security Updates on our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page and the documentation.
- Learn more about running Windows Server on Azure.
- Watch our latest webinar to learn more about how you can secure your IT foundation to be AI-ready.
- Protect beyond Extended Security Updates by enhancing security with Microsoft Defender for Cloud—a comprehensive and unified cloud-native security solution to protect hybrid and multicloud environments from code to cloud.