Bytes Blog: Your Windows Server 2012/R2 Migration Options

Monday 4th September 2023

The end of support (EOS) for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 is fast approaching, with the official date set for the 10th October 2023. After this date, these products will no longer receive security updates, non-security updates, bug fixes, technical support, or online technical content updates.  To avoid potential security breaches and non-compliance with industry regulations organisations need to secure their data. It’s important to consider the options available and which route is optimal for your business.

Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 Extended Security Updates (ESUs)

If you cannot upgrade to the next version, you will need to use Extended Security Updates (ESUs) which will be available for up to three years beyond the end of support date. ESUs will enable you to continue receiving security updates and are available for free if you migrate your workloads to Azure. Otherwise, if your preference is to remain on-premises, you will need to purchase the ESUs for your Windows Server 2012 deployment.

The ESU program is often a last resort option for customers who need to run certain legacy Microsoft products past end of support, it’s recommended by Microsoft to upgrade to the current version of Windows Server for the most advanced security, performance, and innovation.

Migrate and Secure in Azure

Migrating to Azure supports several benefits, including the option to receive up to three years of free Extended Security Updates (ESUs). Migrating applications and databases to Azure is secure and seamless using services such as Azure VMware Solution, Azure Stack HCI, Virtual Machine and Dedicated Host. In addition, Azure Hybrid Benefit allows you to optimise costs by utilising your existing Windows Server and SQL Server licences. This benefit is unique to Azure and can reduce licensing costs significantly, if you don’t have any SQL Server licenses it may still be more cost effective to purchase them and apply them to Azure.

Remaining On-premises

For those customers needing to keep their systems on-premises you can opt to upgrade to Windows Server 2022, which is the latest version of the operating system. Alternatively, you can purchase Extended Security Updates (ESUs) for Windows Server 2012, this will provide up to three years of security updates only, without non-security updates of technical support. ESUs will be available for a three-year period and must be renewed on an annual basis, until 13th October 2026.

If you are an Enterprise Agreement customer and have active Software Assurance on your Windows Server licenses then you are eligible to purchase Extended Security Updates, if not, Azure Arc may be the answer. 

To make the deployment of ESUs on-premises straightforward Azure Arc is available to all customers. Azure Arc enables automatic deployment of purchases ESUs on-premises, making it easier to manage your environment. As well as the ability to extend Azure security and governance to your on-premises infrastructure, ensuring full security across your organisation.

​​​Azure Arc Jumpstart is also available to guide customers through getting started with the platform, it provides a step-by-step guide for various Azure Arc scenarios that incorporate as much automation as possible, as well as detailed images and code samples. It’s designed to get you up and running as quickly as possible. Another key benefit of Azure Arc is that if you're undecided on the platform - you have the flexibility to purchase the ESU on a monthly basis, rather than comitting upfront for a 12 month period. 

Next Steps

It’s fundamental to have a plan in place for your next steps. Whether you opt to migrate to Azure and take advantage of free ESUs for up to three years and leverage Azure services such as Azure Stack HCI or Azure Hybrid Benefit. Or you choose to remain on-premises by upgrading to Windows Server 2022 or purchasing ESUs and utilising Azure Arc. Bytes alongside Microsoft are here to provide guidance and solutions to help navigate this transition.

Prepare and Migrate to the cloud with Bytes, we’re a certified Microsoft AI & Cloud Partner and have helped 1000’s of customers successfully migrate to Azure and adopt cloud services. Bytes offers a range of Azure Migration Services to support your migration journey, we can provide you with access to funding programs, as well as Azure credits to reduce and optimise the cost of migrating to Azure.

For more information about migration options please get in touch with us to talk through your next steps with one of our specialists at [email protected]

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