The end (of support) is nearing – what to do?

2019-12-16, 08:49 Posted by: Tommi Marjomaa

End of support for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is nearing. Strictly speaking, the end is near, it’s less than 30 days to January 14th 2020. If you still have some 2008 or 2008 R2 servers running on your on-premises datacenters, you most likely have evaluated your options what to do with the servers and you have a migration plan that you are following. If you haven’t done that, no need to panic, there’s still time, but the planning needs to start now. Here are some tips to get you started.

Start by understanding your current environment

First thing to do is to take a systematic look at the environment to understand what you have, what it does, who uses it, and if it can be migrated to cloud or should it be upgraded on-premises. Ideally this is done prior to using any actual discovery and assessment tools. If you are unsure about your current environment, you may need to perform analysis of the environment first with assessment tools. After gathering a list of the servers, identifying their business impact and value, finding the application owners and identifying the current use, it’s time to choose the migration paths.

Introducing the most common options for migration

Unfortunately, I have bad news for you, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to success in cloud migrations. I hear you asking, what are my options then? I’ll shortly introduce the most common options to help you plan the migration paths.

Rehosting a.k.a. “lift and shift” is the forklift approach of moving existing physical and virtual servers to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based solution. The key benefit is that systems can be migrated quickly with no modification to code or architecture. Downside with rehosting is that the cloud is used as just another data center, which generally means missing out benefits from cloud-native features like elasticity.

Refactoring involves making few cloud optimizations changes here and there to the application design, with no major changes to the core architecture of the application. Usually this means running some or all components of the application on Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings, like database-as-a-service.

Rearchitecting means modernizing the application's code base and optimizing it for the cloud to take full advantage of cloud’s managed services. As this approach requires significantly more time than rehosting or refactoring, this is not really on option for those Windows 2008 server workloads.

Rebuilding an application from scratch using cloud-native technologies might sound tempting, but I’m guessing that it’s not really a realistic option to do that in under 60 days.

Replacing the application by moving to a different product. Most commonly we see this as repurchasing and moving to SaaS-product offerings such as Salesforce and Office 365. Finding a replacement SaaS-application might not be possible in 60 days. Replacing should still be high on the list while evaluating options for migrations paths.

How about getting rid of the servers by retiring them? Assessments that we done with our customers have revealed that there can be as much as 20% of unnecessary servers running that can simply be turned off.

Upgrading the servers on-premises

Finally, there’s one more option for those 2008 servers. Upgrading the servers on-premises. Whatever the reason for not migrating workload to the public cloud, you can always upgrade the operating system to make sure your workloads do not run on an end-of-life platform. If you however cannot upgrade the operating system before the deadline, by rehosting the workloads in Azure, you can get three years of Extended Security Updates at no additional charge. This gives you more time to modernizing, retiring or finding a replacement for the application.

Some of the questions that help you plan for migration include:

  • How business critical is this application?
  • Can this application be migrated to cloud or should it remain on-premises?
  • Are there any dependencies between applications?
  • Do those dependencies affect which applications can be migrated and in which order?
  • Can we make any changes to the application by ourselves?
  • Will there be need to make changes to user authentication and authorization?
  • What databases are used and where should they be located?
  • What is the expected lifetime for the application?
  • Can we replace the application?
  • Is there a SaaS-offering available?

After the assessment you should have a list of servers, prioritized according to business criticality, usage and expected lifetime. Together with a plan for migration path and a timeframe for each. And remember that this is just the start of the cloud adaption journey.

If you need a reliable partner to help you with your cloud adaption journey, contact us and let's make your journey successful together.


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