How to Prepare for SQL Server 2008 End of Support
For those of us who don't know, on the 9th of July 2019 Microsoft will end its support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2. Afterward, you will no longer receive any regular security updates.
It will result in the SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 as increasingly more vulnerable to cyber-attacks in the future, as well as potential business interruptions and loss of data. Likewise, the end of support will also mean that you can fail to meet various compliance standards and industry regulations. Also, your organization will encounter higher maintenance costs regarding legacy servers, firewalls, intrusion systems, and other similar tools that help protect your network and computers.
So, what are your options going forward? There are several options available to you to make this transition a seamless one for your organization.
Migrate to Azure
The first of these options is to migrate to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance. It is a pretty straightforward option with no application code changes and almost no downtime to your systems. A similar option is to move to Azure Virtual Machines. It will provide you with three years of extended security updates at no cost, and you can update to a newer version whenever you are ready.
By making use of Azure Hybrid Benefit, on the other hand, you will be able to run Windows virtual machines on Azure at a lower rate. You can save up to 55% with this option on your existing licenses. You will, however, need to have Software Assurance to use it.
All of these options presented here will require an Azure environment. It can be purchased in different ways and can be used beyond just hosting virtual machines. And SQL Server in Azure can be operated as a database-as-a-service
so that any patches will be assured automatically.
For better security, performance, availability, and opportunity for innovation via cloud analytics, you should also upgrade your systems to SQL Server 2017. Several enhancements come with SQL Server 2017, which will help you stay more secure and increase performance. Among these, we can count the Automatic Plan Correction, which will help detect and automatically correct any query plan stability issues.
Similarly, there's the Adaptive Query Processing (AQP) that can batch mode operations used with Columnstore indexes. There are also numerous other diagnostic and troubleshooting improvements. Some Showplan enhancements, for instance, are great at query tuning. Several new DMVs are useful for diagnostic and troubleshooting purposes.
SQL Server 2017 also brings to the table some community-driven enhancements such as the possibility for smart transaction log backup, differential backup, better TempDB monitoring, and diagnostics, as well as improved backup performance for small databases on high-end servers.
Keep in mind that, if you are unable to make the transition before the deadline, there is the possibility to extend security updates for an additional three years. Nevertheless, this option comes at a rather steep cost, but you have the opportunity to cover only the workloads that need it while you make the necessary upgrades.
While the end of support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will happen in July 2019, it will also occur for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on January 14, 2020. You can take this opportunity to modernize your entire database to the latest version of the Windows Server. Managed Solution is here to help you through this whole transition.
What to do When Microsoft Stops Supporting Windows 7
Many businesses around the world are impacted every time a piece of software product reaches its end of life, mainly when we're talking about an operating system such as Windows. Back in 2014, when Microsoft ended support for its popular Windows XP, 40% of all computers around the world were directly affected.
Not upgrading the system on time will leave it vulnerable to all sorts of cyber attacks and security concerns. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why some businesses are still hard pressed to change their systems. On the one hand, it could be because updating/upgrading computers can be a time-consuming process - mainly if we're dealing with small to mid-sized organizations.
At other times, it's because the business is running on legacy systems and software that only work on older operating systems. There's also the possibility that the hardware, itself, is old and they can't handle the requirements needed for the upgrade. Then, there's also the issue of training employees to use the new software. All of these will bring added expenses and disruptions that small to mid-sized organizations may avoid undertaking.
Nevertheless, those operating on Windows 7 should know that Microsoft will terminate its support on January 14, 2020. And while this may still seem like a long way away, it leaves little room for a comfortable transition to a new operating system as well as figuring out the next course of action. So, with that said, what are the options for those using Windows 7?
The Extended Security Option
If you, somehow, find yourself past the due date on January 14, 2020, and are still using Windows 7, Microsoft is offering businesses three more years of extended security for them to come up with a plan for transitioning to newer software or hardware.
However, this program comes at a cost, which can be paid on an annual basis. The pricing is by the total number of devices, starting from $50 per device in the first year, moving to $100 in the second year, and finally to $200 in the third. Do, however, keep in mind that, if you're planning to exercise this option, you must do so from the beginning. Microsoft will not allow you to buy in years two or three if you haven't been in the program from the start.
Upgrading or Replacing Your System
When transitioning to Windows 10, there are several options available to you. If you already have a relatively new computer, you can either choose to upgrade Windows 7 into Window 10 or wipe everything by doing a clean install.
The second option is generally more preferred since the system will have a better overall performance than the first option. The clean install route, however, is also more time-consuming as you will need a backup of your data, as well the download and installation of programs.
There's also the option of buying a new computer with Windows 10 already installed. It is the preferred option if you have an older PC that's unable to support the new systems.
It's safe to say that the faster you start on this road, the better and less expensive it will be. That's unless you want to keep your old system, but at the cost of not being connected to the internet. Together with Managed Solution, you will experience a fast and seamless transition to the new system.
Windows Server 2008 End of Life – Now What?
It's no surprise that technology is evolving with every passing day and Microsoft servers are no exception. A decade has passed since the shift from 32-bit to 64-bit happened, and now we're witnessing the era of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and more.
But as this technology has evolved so much over the past decade, Windows' SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2, as well as the Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, will stop receiving extended support come July 9, 2019, and January 14, 2020, respectively.
What this means for users is that they will no longer receive regular security updates. And while this may not seem like much, it's important to remember that cyber attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated and dangerous, wreaking havoc on businesses, big and small.
And while the 2008 family of Windows products did hold their own, it's time to move on to the most current versions. In doing so, you will experience better overall performance and efficiency, as well as an increase in systems security and continued compliance with governmental regulations such as the European Union's GDPR.
Migrating to Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure is a cloud-computing software that provides users with software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS). It's capable of supporting different programming languages, Microsoft-specific tools, and frameworks, as well as third-party applications and systems.
You can take this end of support offered by Microsoft to its Windows Server 2008 and an opportunity to transform and modernize your application stack by moving it to the cloud. To help with the transition, Extended Security Updates will be available for three more years after the end of support deadline. It will give you more time to plan your path, which includes upgrading to newer versions of the software.
Upgrade On-Premises Environments
As for the apps and data that you use on-premises, it's best that you upgrade to the latest version of Windows Server and SQL Server. It will provide you with the best available security and the possibility for innovation.
Keep in mind that today's server infrastructure is hyper-converged. These types of solutions will deliver far better security features, as well as to boost overall performance at a cost-efficient rate. By making use of the Windows Server Software Defined solutions as your data center or Azure Stack as a hybrid cloud solution, you can take advantage of these benefits.
As for the on-premise servers that will require more time to upgrade, you can take advantage of the Extended Security Updates for three more years, at a cost. This option, however, is only available for users who have a Software Assurance or Subscription licenses under an Enterprise Agreement. These can be purchased annually to cover only those servers that will require the updates as you continue your migration to Azure.
A better alternative is to start this process as soon as possible and not wait until the last minute to do so. This way, you can avoid paying the extra cost for the continued protection. Together with Managed Solution, you can make this happen seamlessly and with no interruption to your day-to-day process.
Are You Ready for Windows 7 End of Life? What’s Next?
As many of us know, Microsoft will be terminating its service and security support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. It comes at a time when a vast majority of businesses are using it as their default operating system. And even though Microsoft has been advertising Windows 7's end-of-life, many organizations are reticent in making the transition - looking at the whole situation as having to fix something not broken.
Statistics also show that a whopping 31% of IT and cybersecurity professionals from around the world believe that the Windows 7 end-of-life has already occurred, when, in fact, it's due for January 2020. Besides, only 30% knew when it would happen, while 44% felt unprepared or were unsure about what to do next.
There are, of course, several challenges associated with upgrading or replacing the operating system of an organization. For starters, many organizations have a large number of legacy apps, which may or may not work equally as well on Windows 10. Second, this transition will require a fair degree of time, manually testing compatibility processes and ensuring that everything works as it should.
And while some have already made the transition, others are still trying to figure out the best approach that will have the least impact on the day-to-day operations. The biggest worry, however, comes in the form of securing vulnerable endpoints such as remote workers and those operating off the network.
Windows 10 Presents and Easier Transition
Transitioning from an older to a newer version of an operating system has traditionally been a challenge; organizations had to go through every few years. This time, however, Microsoft looked into ways of streamlining this operation for organizations using its system.
For instance, Microsoft has offered more options to make it easier to combine PC management with cloud computing. Also, they've encouraged people to adopt Windows 10 on their personal computers since 2016, thus lowering the need for employee training and familiarity when Windows 10 will become standard in business.
Furthermore, for those using Windows 7 Pro and Windows 7 Enterprise, Microsoft will extend their security updates for three years after January 2020, offering organizations more time to develop a transition strategy. This offer will come at a cost for customers in Volume Licensing and will sell on a per-device basis. The price will also double with every passing year ($50 in the first year, $100 the second year, $200 third year, per device.) This package is only intended to maintain security, not to introduce any new features.
Windows 7 End-of-Life Preparation
The best way to prepare for this inevitability is by starting as early as possible. The first step should be to make an inventory of all applications that need testing for Windows 10 compatibility. Categorize them based on criticality, security, and needs. You can also use the Windows Insider Program which lets you test updates before their release so that you make an informed decision about what a particular update will be able to deliver.
The areas that you will need to focus your efforts the most when it comes to testing will be security, mission-criticality, lowering downtime, and limiting disruption. Least Privilege Accounts and Application Control, for instance, are two upgrades that will improve your overall safety in Windows 10.
Making the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is something that many organizations would like to avoid, but it's something that they'll have to do, regardless. To help you streamline the entire operation and find the best strategy that will fit your needs, Managed Solution is at your service.
4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs to Migrate to Windows 10
As many of us know, Microsoft will stop its service and security support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. Those remaining with this system after that time will do so without any improved updates or security. There is, however, the option for those using Windows 7 Pro and Windows 7 Enterprise to extend their security updates for the next three years, but it will come at a cost. The price will be based on the number of devices and will increase with every passing year.
But aside from the fact that older versions of Windows will no longer have this support, there are other reasons why businesses should migrate their operations on Windows 10. Below is a rundown of some of the most important reasons that will benefit organizations, big and small.
With Windows 10, users will experience a significant boost in system security. On the one hand, this newest version of Windows is great at detecting and preventing ransomware, which locks up the user's data on the computer. Windows 10 also comes equipped with Windows Defender Exploit Guard, which excels at detecting and removing malware.
Similarly, there's the option to subscribe to Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, which is a cloud-based service for managing all security threats across your organization. On Windows 10 Enterprise and Professional, you'll also have access to Windows Defender Application Guard, which lets you use the Edge browser in a virtual machine. And if you unknowingly contract malware, it won't infect your network or computer since it will confine in that virtual machine.
By making use of the Unified Update Platform (UUP), Windows 10's Update tool will significantly streamline the update process. To put it simply, the UUP will scan your computer and detect what updates your system needs. It will only download and install those specific updates, meaning that your computer will not have to download the entire package. It can reduce the need for extra storage space and installation time by up to 35%.
Those who already use Windows 10 know that it comes with an app store. It lets you find the software you need and allows them to run in their sandboxes. It means that they are more secure than their previous counterparts and are integrated with the system, offering you notifications via the Action Center.
Windows 10 also comes equipped with better and more powerful apps of its own such as Calendar, Mail, People, Maps, Photos, Videos, etc. These work equally as well in full-screen, by using touch, or with the traditional mouse and keyboard. Also, you will not have to install different apps for the various devices you are using.
Windows Autopilot allows businesses to set up their system configurations in the cloud, which can then download onto any Windows 10 computer. Every time you add a new device to the company's network, it will automatically configure to the business design setting. These settings can be for the entire organization or tailor-made for every individual department, position, employee, etc. Ultimately, the managing, configuration, and resetting of your company's devices will be completed in only a fraction of the time, and a more secure environment.
While this list of benefits presented here is not exhaustive, it nevertheless, showcases some of the reasons why businesses should migrate to Windows 10 soon. If you are looking to make the transition but don't know where to start, Managed Solution will help you out. Contact our accredited professionals for more information and let's get started today!
How to Avoid the SQL Server End of Life Risks
If you are still running SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2, then it's essential for you to know that Windows will stop providing extended support as of July 9, 2019. For the companies that miss the deadline, they will be facing severe security and data loss risks, among others.
Once the deadline has passed, Windows will no longer provide any further security updates, leaving your systems vulnerable to cyber-attacks. It's also important to know that these attacks are becoming ever more sophisticated with every passing day and by not having access to these regular updates, you will be at high risk of data loss, ransomware, malware, and other similar issues.
Also, you may have to deal with a sharp drop in customers as a result of your systems being out-of-date. Statistics indicate that over 20% of businesses lose customers as a direct result of security attacks, while a further 30% will experience a loss of revenue because of it.
It will affect your company's reputation. If you are a victim to data loss, your company will be held accountable to your shareholders, investors, customers, and the general public, which will brand your organization as one that's not to be trusted with sensitive information. It is particularly important for companies operating in the financial and healthcare industries.
Lastly, operating on outdated systems will also mean that you could be in breach of various compliance requirements such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Running on these systems past July 9, 2019, will draw maintenance costs in terms of legacy servers, firewalls, intrusion systems, and other similar tools.
How To Avoid these SQL Server End of Life Risks
What you need to do in this situation is to move your SQL Server 2008, and 2008 R2 deployments to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance. It will involve no application code changes and an almost nonexistent downtime. It is a fully managed database-as-a-service, which makes use of the best service-level agreements (SLAs) and which doesn't require any future upgrades.
You can also use your existing licenses as well as the Azure Hybrid Benefit to save when migrating to either the Azure Virtual Machines or to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance.
If this migration is not possible for the time being, say if you have a piece of software installed on the server which can only work on the 2008 version, then Microsoft is offering its paid Extended Security Updates option. It will be made available for the following three years after the deadline to all customers with an Enterprise Agreement (EA, EAS or SCE) who purchased SQL Server with active Software Assurance or as part of a subscription.
Nevertheless, this option comes at a quite considerable cost - somewhere around 75% of the price of a fully licensed version of SQL Server. Do keep in mind, however, that this option can be purchased for only those servers that need them. Additionally, the updates will be extended annually, meaning that you can gradually reduce these costs by proceeding with the migration.
The best way to avoid the risks associated with the SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2 end-of-life is by upgrading your systems to the latest versions. Together with Managed Solution, you will be able to see this happen in no time.
Preparing for Windows Server 2008 End of Life
Windows 2008 Server is a server operating system produced by Microsoft that was released in February 2008. It is the successor of Windows Server 2008 and predecessor of Windows 2008 R2 released in October 2009.
With technology evolving at an ever-increasing rate, it's crucial for organizations to keep their systems up-to-date on all the changes continually. To that end, many are aware that on July 9, 2019, Windows will stop providing extended support for its SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2. Similarly, on January 14, 2020, the extended support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will also end.
This end of support implies that you will no longer receive regular security updates. And even though many people view these regular updates as nothing more than annoyances, they are, nevertheless, critical for your system security. Cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated with every passing day, meaning that an unsupported system with leave you and your business vulnerable to system infection, malware, ransomware, and other such cyber-attacks. Similarly, it can also take you out of compliance with industry regulations such as the EU's own General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The disruption is an opportunity in disguise. End of support for Windows Server 2008 will allow you to take advantage of cloud technology such as Windows' own Azure. This cloud-based solution will enable your organization to scale up or down more quickly, save on computer power, pay for only what you use, have access to better innovation opportunities, among other such benefits.
Preparing for Windows Server 2008 End of Life
It's not wise to wait and transition only when the end of support comes into effect. Making the transition will take some time, and it's better to make it at your pace rather than being rushed by circumstance. Three steps involve a successful migration from Windows Server 2008 to Azure. These include the Assessment Phase, the Migration Phase, and the Optimization Phase.
- The Assessment Phase - During this step, you will have to use Microsoft Data Migration Assistant, Azure Migrate, or other such partner tools to make a thorough inventory of your apps and workloads. The next step will be to categorize each of them based on type (Microsoft apps, ISV apps, Custom LOB apps, and Server roles.) Then, classify them based on criticality (Mission Critical, Important, and Normal), and finally by risk (Low, Medium, High). These will help you better plan your migration.
- The Migration Phase - At the migration step of the process, you can transform critical aspects of your operation by moving away from old platforms. You will need to update your server to Windows Server 2019 to get DevOps and cloud-ready and take your application portfolio to the cloud.
- The Optimization Phase - Once the migration is complete, you can begin fine-tuning your resources for cost optimization, better management, as well as for security and compliance. With Azure, you can manage your resources and cost, as well as strengthen your security and ensure the compliance mentioned above. Tools such as Azure Security Center, Azure Cost Management, and Azure Advisor will help you manage your cloud resources. With System Center, you can integrate your on-premises workloads with Azure for a seamless and fully optimized hybrid cloud environment.