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Moving from Windows Server 2008R2
Published Date : 21 Mar 2019   Last Updated : 04 Jan 2023   Content Ref: NWS6693517  

Windows Server 2008 (all versions) goes end of life in January

Microsoft has announced the official date for the end of life of Windows Server 2008 (all versions) support will be 14 January 2020. Although there are many schools who are aware of this and who have moved to new technologies, there are still a large number of you using Windows Server 2008.

What does this mean to me?

After 14 January 2020, Microsoft will no longer issue security updates for Windows Server 2008 operating systems and their support will cease. In practice, the end of support from Microsoft means no new security updates to the product and, without support, this may mean no further product updates for critical systems like anti-virus and network management tools. This will also mean that you will not receive support from Microsoft on any network issues from this date and your network will be vulnerable to new security threats and malicious attacks.

Microsoft currently releases monthly cumulative, security updates and hotfixes across their Windows Server 2008 platforms to keep the system stable and secure. Critical updates include fixes for a number of vulnerabilities that place servers at risk from remote execution from both inside and outside of your school. Microsoft will stop releasing these updates as of January 2020 so if you continue to run Server 2008, you will be at risk of attack.

Whilst RM strongly recommends that customers upgrade to a more modern, secure platform, we will continue to support customers with Windows Server 2008R2 on a reasonable endeavours basis only until the end of December 2020 to ensure a smooth transition for those upgrading or migrating. This support will not include recovering networks that are compromised by malicious attacks.

So, what are my options?
  1. Stay with Windows Server 2008
    Sticking with your current hardware and server platform is very high risk and we strongly recommend that you transition to a more modern server operating system. By staying on Windows Server 2008 you will be more vulnerable to security issues and malicious attacks both from inside and outside of your school. If you do make the decision to stay on the Windows Server 2008 platform, we can only offer reasonable endeavours support and this approach could lead to you experiencing virus or Ransomware attacks, which could result in a lengthy period of unavailability of the systems that support teaching and learning in the classroom. In the cases where schools are subjected to malicious attacks (e.g. virus or Ransomware) and where you require our help to recover your network to a working state, this would be a chargeable service.
  2. Upgrade your server
    You may be able to upgrade your server platform on your existing hardware. This would mean updating your server operating system and potentially any applications hosted by that server to a newer, supported version and ensuring that you're protected against the latest security threats. The age of your server hardware will determine if this route is best for you, but if you are unsure then we can help. We offer migration services to both Windows Server 2016 and 2019 (currently Community Connect networks only) operating systems. Windows Server 2016 and 2019 are 64-bit server operating systems, which provide significantly increased scalability, but may not install on some older hardware platforms. Migration from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2016 or 2019 is a complex process. Our specialised migration services ensure this is error free and retains, where possible, configuration, user accounts and user data. Please get in touch to discuss the migration options which are best for you.
  3. Virtualise your servers
    If you are currently using multiple physical servers, then the move to Windows Server 2016 or 2019 may be the perfect opportunity to gain the benefits of server virtualisation, which when combined with modern server operating systems, can increase the availability and flexibility of your critical server infrastructure. Our specialised migration services personnel are also experts in making the transition to virtualisation. Optionally, we can also migrate your data to the cloud to reduce your on-prem hardware costs.

What about Community Connect?

A new Windows 2016 or 2019 Connect on Prem (subscription model) server really modernises your network and paves the way to a hybrid cloud network solution.

If you are considering using a mixture of client types on your network, you may wish to consider a different way of delivering the Windows software remotely so that teachers and learners can access these resources from home. CC4 Access meets that need by delivering remote applications or Community Connect® 4 (CC4) desktops to your users, anywhere, on any device (including, from summer 2019, Chromebooks) all you need is an Internet connection.

Community Connect on Windows Server 2016 or 2019, combined with RM Unify, allows you to manage your identities and is the perfect way to start using the massive range of free and low-cost cloud services, such as Microsoft® 365™ and Google Workspace for Education.

Is now the time to be thinking about migrating to the cloud?

Yes, you can also consider migrating more of your data to the cloud. Microsoft OneDrive, Teams and SharePoint services or Google Drive, Google Team Drive and Google Classroom are ideal vectors for you to reduce the requirement for costly hardware on premises by moving your data to the cloud.

It's also a really good opportunity to do some housekeeping and archive the older 'cold' data you no longer need. You can then migrate your 'warm' data to your new server, or the cloud. By migrating your user data and shared areas to the cloud you can free up valuable space and reduce your on-premises footprint. We have specially tailored services to allow you to do this seamlessly. We have solution specialists on hand to help you plan your data migration. This also allows you to consider a more modern, hybrid approach where cloud services sit alongside your on-prem network.

Intune and Commnunity Connect

Another consideration you may wish to take is to adopt the usage of 'Cloud-books' managed by Microsoft Intune.

This approach is ideal for schools who have moved to Microsoft 365 and migrated their data (user and/or shared) to the cloud. This approach also allows school to buy lower cost devices and users to access their data from anywhere with an Internet connection. These devices are secured and managed by Intune and you can deliver both modern and 32-bit applications, printers and resources via the Intune console. You can also use the more modern CSP licensing model with these devices. Contact Sales for more information.

Contact us
Whichever route you decide, we have tried and tested migration paths to Windows Server 2016 to fit small and large schools alike. Start your planning and migration today. For further information, contact our Sales department on 0845 0700 300.

Other Useful Articles

How to migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 10 (NWS6692419)

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Document Keywords: Server 2008, Server 2008 R2, CC4.3, CC4 2008 Server, windows server 2008, eol, end of support, lifecycle, NWS6693517

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