We’re Nearing the End of the Line for Windows 7 and Server 2008

Written by Alexander Shapero on Feb 19, 2019

While we don’t want to nag, we’re going to. Microsoft is ending support for Windows Server 2008 (and 2018 R2) and Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. If you haven’t already started migrating to newer versions or even started planning, you should. There’s a lot of work to be done between now and then, too – over 35 percent of desktops still run Windows 7, and 70 percent of enterprise applications still run on Windows Server 2008.

We get why some enterprises haven’t jumped the gun. An organizational wide enterprise OS migration isn’t an easy thing to pull off. Yet, it will have to be done at some point. One option is to replace current on-premises software to the latest Microsoft software, but that requires a significant investment in new licenses and servers – and a ton of manual work. A more manageable, modern and less costly alternative is to migrate the ecosystem to Google Cloud – either completely or in a hybrid deployment – with a comprehensive IT infrastructure automation solution like itopia Cloud Automation Stack (CAS).

Not upgrading from Windows 7 and Windows 2008 is risky

By no means are we advocating that the world will end if you don’t meet the deadline, but there are serious reasons why you should try. Let’s dig into how the end of support for these extremely popular and ubiquitous Windows versions can affect your business if you don’t upgrade.

  • Security – When the EOL happens in less than a year, Microsoft will stop pushing security updates. Sure, you can buy extended support, which Microsoft announced last fall, but that’s an extra line item in your bill, and Microsoft will likely keep raising the prices for the package over the three-year period it plans to offer this. In the bigger picture, and given the popularity of these platforms, hackers are surely already hard at work on finding vulnerabilities and will be ready to pounce in January 2020.
  • Compatibility – When Microsoft ends support for an OS, third-party ISVs also move on to the newer version. In other words, applications won’t perform as well (or at all) on older operating systems. Take browsers for instance, which nobody could do their job without these days. While companies don’t end support for old platforms immediately, but they will stop putting effort into updating them for an unsupported OS, and eventually stop supporting them at all. The same goes for hardware, as manufacturers will stop creating peripherals and drivers that work with old OSes. For instance, the latest Intel CPUs don’t support Windows 7 and 8.1.
  • Performance – Let’s face it, hardware functionality – be it end point devices or servers – deteriorate over time. Further, advancements in hardware capabilities happen at such a rapid rate, that devices become obsolete faster than ever before. If you don’t upgrade your systems, you risk your overall business performance. Just try and boot up an old laptop and see if you can be productive.
  • Management – While the entire enterprise ecosystem surrounding Microsoft moves forward to support new Windows versions, if you put off your upgrade you are setting yourself up for an IT management nightmare. Software and hardware compatibility issues will proliferate, and patching and securing old systems will become increasingly difficult. In other words, you will be stuck fighting a bunch of avoidable IT fires instead of focusing on running your business effectively.

Migrating from Windows 7 and 2008 doesn’t have to be so hard

Anyone who has experienced earlier Windows EOLs knows that the upgrade wasn’t fun. For many, those prior experiences are the main reason to procrastinate. But, as Benjamin Franklin said: “You may delay, but time will not.” And, there are new alternatives available that can make your life easier. With itopia Cloud Automation Stack (CAS), for instance, you have an automated solution to easily upgrade your Windows-based EUC environment to the latest versions of the OSes in Google Cloud – without any up-front investment on infrastructure.

Through a single interface, IT admins can quickly migrate and manage the entire lifecycle of a cloud desktop environment on the latest infrastructure without ever having to get under the hood in Google Cloud. In addition, CAS features like server uptime scheduling, autoscaling and snapshots enable you to cut cloud costs significantly and ensure business continuity during any stage of your upgrade/migration. Why not make it the inevitable easier?