It’s time to quit Windows and SQL Server 2012 (or run them on Azure)

The only way to get extended support for the 2008 versions of Windows and SQL Server is in the cloud. Here’s why you should also be thinking about the 2012 migrations now.

Image: Shutterstock / Khakimullin Aleksandr

The release of Windows Server 2022 is a good reminder that older versions of the operating system will soon lose support and security updates, as well as older versions of SQL Server. But if you’re ready to move workloads to the cloud, you get a little more flexibility.

SQL Server remains a heavy workload for Windows Server; version 2022 can support up to 48TB of RAM and 2,048 logical processors per physical server, especially for SQL Server. So if you’re still running Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2, it’s probably for a SQL Server 2008 workload. Not only are these three items no longer getting extended support, they’re also about to stop. receive extended security updates.

SEE: This open source Microsoft benchmark is a powerful server testing tool (TechRepublic)

SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 stop getting ESUs on July 12, 2022, with Windows Server 2008 and R2 security updates ending January 14, 2023, so you need to plan now how you will handle the upgrade. upgrade or migrate these workloads.

If you are still using SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2, you have a little more time to plan ahead for the upgrade. Extended support for SQL Server 2012 (including R2) will also end soon on July 12, 2022; Extended support for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 will end on October 10, 2023.

At this point, you can pay for Extended Security Updates, which include critical and important fixes, critical updates for SQL Server, and support access if you have an active support plan with Microsoft. They are distributed by the usual update channels, like Windows Update and WSUS.

ESUs for SQL Server 2012 and 2012 R2 will be available for purchase starting April 2022 (so you know you won’t miss any security updates when extended support ends). ESUs for Windows Server 2012 and R2 can be purchased from July 2023.

ESUs are an expensive way to keep old versions after extended support ends. You must have at least one month of Software Assurance or an Enterprise Agreement with subscription licenses, you purchase ESUs in 2-core packs for SQL Server and 16-core packs for Windows Server 2012 and you will pay 75% of the price the cost license for the latest version of SQL Server and Windows Server (not the version you are still using), only for the first year. For the second year, you pay the same as the license cost for current versions and 125% of that license cost for the third year.

Price indexing is there to discourage organizations from hanging on to older versions because each year you only pay for the servers you need; So the sooner you upgrade, the fewer servers you have to pay at the next level each year. You can’t reduce the price by delaying: you can start using EDUs in the second or third year, but you will have to pay for previous years even if you haven’t taken the updates.

SEE: Windows Server 2022: a cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

You can purchase ESUs for the Enterprise and Standard editions of SQL Server 2012 and R2; you can’t buy them for Express or Developer editions, but if you’re already paying for ESUs, you can apply them to those editions (and they’ll get ESUs if you run them in Azure). If you have a passive secondary server for failover from a production SQL Server workload (such as a virtual machine that is ready to go but not running), you can purchase ESUs just for the load. production workloads, but also use them to keep the secondary up to date in the VM. If you have Visual Studio licensed development or test servers or MSDN subscriptions, you can apply any ESUs you purchase to them without paying extra.

Whichever edition you use, make sure the latest service pack is applied or you will not be able to install ESUs. You will need to use online service (or audit mode) to apply the ESUs; you can’t do it with DISM and offline service. And you will be stuck on older versions of System Center. Only a few scenarios can be managed with System Center 2016 on these older workloads, although the latest version of Configuration Manager can deploy ESUs to them.

Ready to upgrade

Organizations using such older versions are not likely to upgrade to the brand new version of Windows Server. But they should consider at least Windows Server 2019, which supports SQL Server 2016 and 2017 and gives you new options like running SQL Server in containers (although only the Linux version, because support for Windows Container for SQL Server never released from beta. There is a list of everything new since Windows Server 2012 here.

You also have the option of running SQL Server as a persistent database service on Arc, on the infrastructure of your choice, managed from Azure; this way you can completely avoid future big bang upgrades.

Support for Windows Server 2016, 2019, and 2022 in-place upgrades from Windows Server 2012 or later, as long as you are running a 64-bit version (because there is no 32-bit version of Windows Server 2016 and later). So, if you are using Windows Server 2008, you will need to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 first and then to your target version of Windows Server; from 2008 R2, you can upgrade to 2012 R2 and then to your final version.

For roles other than running SQL Server, it is worth checking the matrix of server roles that can be upgraded from Server 2012 and which will need to be migrated to new hardware running the new system. ‘exploitation. For example, Microsoft recommends that all domain controllers run at least Windows Server 2016, and in-place upgrades are not recommended; instead, you need to configure a new server and promote this to domain controller.

SEE: A new Microsoft Store: what does it mean for you and your business? A lot in fact (TechRepublic)

Azure first, upgrade later

If there is a compelling reason not to upgrade your Windows Server and SQL Server workloads to something newer, the cheapest way to get extended support is to run them in a VM on Azure. , where you get free ESUs for three years after extended support ends.

If you move your 2008 or 2008 R2 workloads to Azure, you can get an additional year of free ESUs, which brings you to July 12, 2023, for SQL Server 2008 and R2, and January 14, 2024, for Windows Server. 2008 and R2. .

For SQL Server and Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2, you will receive free ESUs on Azure until July 12, 2025; Extended support for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 will end on October 10, 2026.

If you move any of these SQL Server and Windows Server workloads to Azure VMs, the ESUs will be activated automatically so you don’t have to do any configuration. But if you want an automated fix for SQL Server, you need to register virtual machines with SQL Server IaaS agent extension.

Migration to Azure also allows you to take advantage of other services, such as Automanage. You can run standard Azure VMs or use Dedicated Host, VMware, or Nutanix options if that’s where you’re migrating from.

But moving your workloads to Azure doesn’t mean you have to move them to the public cloud: you get the same free ESU deal if you run Windows Server and SQL Server on Azure Stack, whether it’s Azure Stack Hub, Azure Stack Edge or Azure Stack HCI, which can all run on your own hardware and on your own network. You have to do a little extra work download SQL Server ESUs from Azure portal but you don’t have to pay for these ongoing security updates, and you get an additional year of coverage for 2008 and 2008 R2 products.

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