“All good things must come to an end” will ring loud and clear come January 2020. Like with all of Microsoft’s operating systems, Mainstream and Extended Support is provided by Microsoft for a period of time. Microsoft calls its products “End of Life” when the Extended Support period comes to an end. Microsoft will stop providing monitoring and updates which would address security vulnerabilities. Businesses and users who continue to use these products will no longer have any protection, putting their data at high risk. On top of that, most vendors, manufacturers, and developers will no longer invest resources to support their hardware/software on platforms and systems that Microsoft is no longer supporting.
Give me the overview
Mainstream vs Extended Support
Mainstream support is available for 5 years following the date of the product’s release. Microsoft continues to improve the system by supplying updates that fix any performance bugs that are reported. From time to time, Microsoft will release new features that enhance the system. These features are based on community and developer requests. On top of that, Microsoft will push out security updates that patch any security vulnerabilities that both in-house and third-party developers find.
After mainstream support ends, Microsoft begins a 5-year period of Extended Support for the product. From that point forward, Microsoft will only focus on providing updates that address security vulnerabilities or concerns. You will not see any new features or design changes. Lastly, warranty claims are no longer valid or accepted during the Extended Support period.
If desired, big corporations can purchase an Extended Support agreement with Microsoft. This contract ensures Microsoft will continue to provide performance and operational fixes/updates to systems. These Extended Support agreements are only available to purchase during a product’s Extended Support period. While these agreements are expensive, IT departments see value in keeping thousands of workstations operating smoothly. One annoying bug can be the equivalent of a wrench tossed into a well-oiled machine.
Why is January 2020 a big deal?
On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will be ending their Extended Support for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008/R2, and Exchange Server 2010. That means any business or user actively using a workstation or server that is operating any of those three products/systems will immediately place their data at risk of theft, destruction, or ransom. This can, however, easily be avoided by working with your account manager in advance.
What risks should I be aware of?
SWAT Systems is fully prepared to help migrate you to a newer operating system, new workstation, and/or new server. Our goal is to transition all of our clients to supported systems in a timely matter. That is why it is important that you begin working on a budget plan with an account manager immediately. Waiting until the last few months could result in a disastrous scenario.
Microsoft’s Extended Support will end on the same day for everyone. Every business and user around the world will be transitioning at the same time. In the months leading up to January, 2020, replacement software and hardware orders will undoubtedly spike. We anticipate backorders and long shipping times due to the high demand. SWAT Systems’ engineers will also be in high demand. They’re time and availability will quickly be taken up as they work through everyone’s workstation and server replacement needs. To avoid placing your business, users, and customers at risk, start planning for EOL 2020 today!
Tell me about my options
End of Life: January, 2020
Recommended Replacement: Windows 10
Of the three systems Microsoft will end Extended Support for, Windows 7 will cause the most panic. Globally, 49% of workstations were running on Windows 7 as of July this year. What’s more impressive is that Windows 7 is the most popular operating system by a wide margin. Windows 10, in second place, has been slowly growing market share every month, but is still sitting at only 26%. Windows 7’s popularity is the result of three critical things: an extremely stable operating system, the release of Windows 8, and the end of Extended Support for Windows XP.
Windows 8 (and later 8.1) was not well received by most users when it was initially released. We won’t go into detail, but it was a difficult period of time for Microsoft and its manufacturing partners. Frustrated users and businesses began purchasing Windows 7 machines before Microsoft stopped allowing the sale of Windows 7 altogether. The Windows 7 spree continued when Windows XP was labeled end of life after its Extended Support period came to an end. Unprepared businesses and users scrambled to purchase available Windows 7 workstations.
We recommend replacing your Windows 7 licenses and workstations with Windows 10. We’ll be the first to agree that Windows 10 had a rocky start, however, it recently celebrated its second year of general availability. It has gone through several rounds of feature enhancements and bug fixes. It’s a reliable operating system that you will quickly get accustomed to, seeing as how Microsoft designers and engineers used Windows 7 for inspiration. If your computer is moderately new, you may be eligible for a simple software upgrade, saving you money and time. We can use the same hardware you have, but upgrade the operating system from Windows 7 to Windows 10. To determine if your computer is eligible, a SWAT engineer or account manager would have to review its hardware and age.
Windows Server 2016
Recommended Replacement: Windows Server 2016
Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 are designed using the same core architecture of Windows Vista and Windows 7. Microsoft typically releases a major server operating system shortly after releasing a major workstation operating system. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see Windows Server 2008/R2 on the same support time-frame as Windows 7.
Mayhem does not arise at the end of Extended Support for server operating systems like it does for workstations, because business servers are normally replaced at a faster rate than workstations are. Servers are running 24/7 causing them to wear out much faster. When a business replaces a server, it typically does so using the latest server operating system in the market, however, the lack of proper budgeting and planning can cause some businesses to forgo regular server replacement plans. These are the businesses who are most at risk when a server operating system becomes end-of-life.
We recommend replacing your Server 2008/R2 with, you guessed it, Server 2016. The process for replacing Server 2008 can be complex. A server’s responsibilities and processes can result in a longer-than-average replacement process. Replacing a server with Windows Server 2008/R2 will typically require purchasing new hardware. Since server hardware undergoes much more use and wear, we recommend putting your business data and Server 2016 on hardware that will last you another 5-6 years.
End of Life: January, 2020
Recommended Replacement: Office 365
Last but not least, is Microsoft’s Exchange Server 2010 product. Come January, 2020, its Extended Support will also come to an end. From an IT perspective, Exchange Server 2010 coming end-of-life is the least worrisome of all the products. A lot of businesses have already transitioned their communications and collaboration needs to a cloud-based system, like Office 365. Businesses needing deep integration with third-party software, or those with very high security needs, have upgraded their Exchange Servers to 2013 or 2016. The migration between Exchange versions or to Office 365 are typically smooth and easy. Any business using Exchange Server 2010 for email or communication should highly consider Office 365.
About SWAT Systems:
Founded in 1999, SWAT Systems began with a mission to provide local businesses with outsourced IT services. Working initially to help companies become Y2K-compliant, SWAT Systems then moved into helping build the infrastructure of many of the early dot-com companies. Today, technology services from SWAT Systems are designed, created, and implemented with the modern business' needs in mind. Working with us ensures a return on your IT investments today and in the future.
Make the strategic move to Managed Technology Solutions. Connect with a SWAT Systems representative today.