A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about the end of support for Windows Server™ 2008. In that blog, I addressed the pressure Microsoft® will impose upon customers upgrading to Windows Server 2016 or 2019, as MS attempts to move them to the cloud. On October 16, Microsoft announced a new option for those wishing to retain their 32-bit Windows Server 2008 applications and further delay the eventual update, but do so, they’ll have to appease Microsoft by migrating the applications to Azure™ Virtual Machines. This may be accomplished by use of the Azure Site Recovery (ASR) tool. The name of the tool is somewhat misleading, as it has traditionally been used to migrate 64-bit versions of Windows Server, but it is now available to migrate 32-bit applications as well. ASR may be used as a migration tool for thirty days at no charge.
Migrating applications to Azure Virtual Machines may be contrary to the desires of those wishing to remain solely on-premises, but in return, Microsoft will support 2008 and 2008 R2 versions of Windows Server with free security updates until January 2023, which is three years after the scheduled End of Support date.
Microsoft’s strategy is clear, as it begins a transition to Azure for customers who may be reluctant to do so, but they are offering a valuable concession. Organizations have varying reasons for wishing to preserve their datacenters, and some may never embrace the cloud, but there are instances where organizations want to depreciate and eventually retire existing hardware, for example. Others may simply not be ready for the potential disruption of business which may result from a move to the cloud. Also, there are many who don’t trust a third party with something as critical as their IT and data. By 2023, many of these barriers may be overcome, and for those moving to Azure, Microsoft will have achieved their goal of moving customers to the cloud.