Each new year there are Microsoft Business software products that reach their end-of-support deadlines.
It is a time for IT professionals to look at the different software they are using and be aware of the ones that are falling out of “extended support”.
This means they will no longer get patches or security updates from Microsoft after a certain point in time.
Any experienced IT professional knows that it is considered a potential risk to continue to use “unsupported software” after their end-of-support milestones.
Most IT professionals are on top of this to ensure they don’t put themselves at risk, but there may be some to address.
Here are some of the Microsoft deadlines that are quickly approaching that you don’t want to overlook:
Windows 7 Client and Server Deadlines:
One of the biggest impeding end-of-support dates for Microsoft products is the January 14, 2020 end date for Microsoft Windows 7.
But keep in mind, this deadline also applies for the following:
- Windows Server 2008/R2
- Hyper-V Server 20018/R2
SQL Server 2008/R2 reached is end-of-support date on January 9, 2019.
If you are running products that are more than two generations away, you will have to undergo a two-hop migration to get to the newer 2019 server products or Windows 10.
For example, if you are using Windows Server 2008 R2, you will have to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2 before migrating to Windows Server 2019 (two-hop Migration).
If you already have the most recent version, there is an “in-place upgrade” process available for its client and server products that doesn’t wipe any data, so the migration is fairly simple.
Extended Security Updates:
If your organization is stuck with Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R/2, or SQL Server 2008/R2 for one reason or another, Microsoft has an Extended Security Updates (ESU) program but it comes at a price.
For $62.00 per user for the first year, the program adds the rights to continue to get patch support for one year.
The patch support can be renewed each year (you have to pay for each year), for a total of three years and we have heard that the price is said to double each year to encourage users to update to more recent versions.
As you can see, this option can get pretty pricey.
The ESU program also comes with several nuances.
For example, the patching support varies.
Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R/2 users get “critical” and “important” patches while SQL Server 2008 R/2 users only get “critical” patch fixes.
For more information regarding these nuances, Microsoft offers a rationale under the ESU Program FAQ found here.
Susan Bradley, a Micorosft Most Valuable Professional, Windows patch expert, and admin who moderates the Patchmanagement@googlegroups.com forum recently discovered another ESU program nuance.
It’s a known qualification that Software Assurance is needed for the Windows 2008/R2 servers covered under ESU program.
However, she discovered that this Software Assurance coverage has to be part of an Enterprise Agreement in order to even qualify for the program.
Thia means that smaller organizations are limited because Enterprise Agreements are designed for large organization.
Roughly three years ago, Microsoft changes its Enterprise Agreement qualification from having 250 licensed users or devices to 500 licensed users or devices, at minimum.
On the other hand, Software Assurance isn’t a requirement to get ESU support for Windows 7 Users.
Furthermore, having an Enterprise Agreement isn’t a requirement for the Windows 7 ESU Program.
Thisblog post has Microsoft’s best advice for getting ESU set up for Windows 7 environments.
For larger organizations that are using Microsoft’s volume licensing sales programs, they have to contact their “Account Team CE” to purchase the ESU keys that will provide additional patch support for on year.
For smaller organizations, you are placed in touch with a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partner to buy these ESU keys.
One workaround alternative for those stuck on Windows Server 2008/R2 and SQL Server 2008/R2 is to run those workloads on Azure virtual machines.
If this is the case, there is no cost for getting software via the ESU program, you would only be paying for the Azure virtual machine hosting costs.
In this December 17, 2019 Blog post, Microsoft recapped their migration options for Windows Server 2008/R2 users.
One new feature is that it is possible to access a “preview of extended security updates” and this can be accessed through the Azure Portal.
This preview is available even if you only use on-premise computers,” according to Microsoft ESU how-to documentation.
There is an optional update that Microsoft recently published that allows IT pros to test if a machine running Windows 7 is eligible to get ESU’s after the January 14th end-of-support date.
Machine’s running the Home Edition of Windows 7 are typically not eligible.
There is also an update option to check the eligibility of Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 machines to use ESUs.
Exchange Server 2010, SharePoint Server 2010 and Office 2010
You still have some time but Exchange Server 2010 will fall out of extended support on October 13, 2020.
This means that it will lose free patch Support from Microsoft after that day.
The end-of-support date for Exchange Server 2010 was originally January 14, 2020, but Microsoft announced back in September that it was extending it by about 10 months.
The following will fall out of extended support onOctober 13, 2020: SharePoint Server 2010, Office 2010 Client, Project Sever 2010, and Windows Embedded Standard 7.
All of these dates can be found in this Microsoft Support Notice.
If you are running Exchange 2010, you will need to perform a two-hop migration to get to the current Exchange Server 2019.
Basically you will need to upgrade to either Exchange Server 2013 or 2016 first before hopping to the newest server product.
An alternative solution is to use the Exchange Online service through an Office 365 subscription.
If you have fewer than 150 seats or users, then you fall under the smaller organizations category and you can perform a so-called “cut-over migration,” but the move has to be completed within a week.
Other options include a “minimal hybrid migration” to be carried out over a few weeks’ time or a “full hybrid migration” over a period of months.
In September Microsoft announced that they will be getting rid of “Basic Authentication” in its Exchange Online e-mail service. It will get removed on October 13, 2020.
The reason for its removal is that Basic Authentication is subject to password spray attack scenarios, as Microsoft previously explained.
Office 365 ProPlus Support on Windows
“Office 365 ProPlus” is a suite of Office applications (Excel, PowerPoint and Word) that’s sold as part of Office 365 or Microsoft 365 subscriptions, usually renewed on a monthly basis.
Microsoft also sells a perpetual-license one-time-purchase version of Office, with its current iteration known as “Office 2019.”
Figuring out support for Office products can be somewhat cumbersome and confusing because their support life-cycles are not tied to the underlying Windows operating systems, but rather to certain Office 365 services.
In a series of confusing posts posted in 2018, many IT professionals are left to think there are no 2020 deadlines concerning Office 365 ProPlus.
In February 2018, this Redmond Article outlined that that Office 2019 would have its “extended support” phase clipped by three years.
However, Microsoft’s original February 2018 post on which it was based later got moved, apparently to this Microsoft Tech Community post, which bears an update date of Sept. 6, 2018.
Microsoft later altered its original February 2018 support declarations via this Sept. 6, 2018 post by Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Office and Windows marketing.
Confusing, we know.
Amidst the confusion, Microsoft shared some clarity in thisOffice 365 support article.
Effective January 14, 2020 Office 365 ProPlus will not longer be supported on the following versions of Windows and Windows Server: Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2, and any Windows 10 Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC/LTSB) release.
Office 365 ProPlus will continue to be supported through its end of support date on January 2023.
Windows Server 2016 will continue to be supported through its end of support date on October 2025.