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We’ve all heard the old adage, ‘All good things must come to an end.’ It’s true in many aspects of life - and your favorite computer software or operating system is no exception. Given the widespread popularity of Windows 7 and Server 2008, the end of extended support in 2020 is going to be a major disruption for those who haven’t prepared for it. Just as with Windows XP and Vista, there are those that will resist upgrading, despite the dangers associated with running outdated software.

For many end users, planning ahead for the end of extended support isn’t really a major concern. When it comes to businesses, however, it’s a different story. The end of extended support means that Microsoft will no longer distribute any patches or fixes for security risks and exploitable vulnerabilities. With so much riding on the integrity of a business’ data, risks associated with running software without security patches is a risk that should be avoided at all costs. Once support ends, it’s open season for cybercriminals who are always looking for new ways to steal personal information.

Here’s a breakdown of the Microsoft products that will reach the end of extended support in the near future.

Microsoft Software

End of Extended Support Date

SQL Server 2008 (SP4)

July 9, 2019

SQL Server 2008 R2 (SP3)

July 9, 2019

Windows 7

January 14, 2020

Windows Server 2008 (SP2)

January 14, 2020

Windows Server 2008 R2 (SP1)

January 14, 2020

Microsoft Office 2010

October 13, 2020


Even though they are still technically in ‘extended support’ from Microsoft, there are some instances where support is unavailable already, well before their scheduled 2020 demise. Much of the hardware that features the current or next generation of silicon processors simply is not supported for use with operating systems that are in extended support, like Windows 7 or Server 2008.

Processor Generation

Processor Model

OS Support

KabyLake

7th Generation Core processors (i7, i5)

Windows 10 ONLY

6th Generation Xeon processors

SkyLake

6th Generation Core processors (i7, i5)

Windows 7, 8.1

5th Generation Xeon processor

 

For example, a business looking to use a 7th generation Intel Core processor (a.k.a. KabyLake processors) will be forced to upgrade to Windows 10, as neither Windows 7, nor Windows 8.1 will have operating system support. This also applies to KabyLake processors paired with devices looking to run Microsoft Server 2008 OS. In summary, for those who seek to use extended support Windows 7 must buy previous generation or legacy hardware components.

As with most IT projects, a major migration to a new operating system will take a lot of planning and preparation. The majority of businesses are going to be faced with multiple machines that are running the soon-to-be outdated software. It’s important for businesses to consider the extent to which the end of extended support of these favorites will impact their business, perhaps even in some ways they might not expect:

  •    Can existing hardware support a new operating system? If not, what is your plan to upgrade these workstations or servers?
  •    Are you considering options like thin clients and virtualization?
  •    Will your line of business applications still perform with new software/hardware?
  •    What are the possible budgetary restrictions and concerns?
  •    Will having to replace several machines at once be too taxing on your resources?
  •    Does the installation of new operating systems on workstations require employee training?

When it comes to planning and executing major projects, like mass migration to an updated operating system, these questions are just the tip of the iceberg. In terms of business planning, 2020 is not that far away and developing a strategy now may save you a lot of time and money. Contact IronEdge today and we can help you plan an upgrade strategy that meets both your needs and your budget.

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