As a heads up to those running older Windows Servers, Extended Support for WS2008 will come to an end in approximately one year (Jan. 14, 2020). So, what should you be doing about it now?

At the minimum…

…You should start planning for the date, get budget together, and develop an action plan to upgrade your servers.

Here’s one option

Microsoft recently announced a three-year extension of WS2008 support for organizations that move their WS2008 workload to Azure, and Azure only. If you’re running WS2008 workloads on AWS, GCP, or any other non-Azure cloud, you’ll need to upgrade. This means that all those WS2008 instances on AWS will need to move to a supported cloud-hosted OS like WS2012 or WS2016. VirtaMove can help with that.

A much better idea

A lot of workload worldwide is still running on WS2003, which reached end of support in summer 2018. WS2003 has well known and commonly exploited security exposures, such as NotPetya & WannaCry. Running applications on an operating system that is more than a decade old isn’t good practice, given that security breaches on older systems become well known, widely documented, and exploited over time. It’s clear to us that too many organizations are running old systems and failing to modernize. The results are increased risk and a stifling of innovation. More about this in a future blog.

The first step in dealing with the WS2008 deadline is to stop procrastinating and start planning now for WS2008 server modernization. Just because extended support for WS2008 on Azure beyond January 2020 might be available to you doesn’t make it a good idea. A much better idea is to get a fresh install of legacy WS2003 or WS2008 applications on new, more secure WS2012 or WS2016 servers. VirtaMove can help you with that whether you run those servers in the cloud or in-house on VMs.

A fresh install gets you fresh options

New servers open the possibility of managing server workloads with modern cloud management and DevOps tools. New servers also let you get more life out of legacy applications, as well as better and more secure performance. If you move all the way to WS2016, VirtaMove has demonstrated that legacy workloads can run and be managed in Windows Docker containers.

You’ve got approximately one year to plan for and address the pending WS2008 EOL deadline. If you’re running applications on old Windows systems:

  • Upgrade your hardware and operating systems to close known hardware security exposures like Meltdown and Spectre.
  • Move and install legacy applications onto modern, secure operating systems like WS2012 and WS2016 systems to eliminate WannaCry and other malware exposures.
  • Plan, get budget, and spend some money. Consider that these are modest investments compared to costs associated with system redevelopment or security exposures.

It’s time to get moving

Ignoring known security risks inherent in outdated servers and operating systems is negligent. It’s time to stop procrastinating. It’s time to modernize – not just once, but continuously.

An automated migration tool can help you get moving. The VirtaMove Migration Intelligence suite can:

  • Isolate older application stack and dependencies from the underlying OS.
  • Move your legacy applications to new WS2012 or WS2016 servers.
  • Automatically put the old software stack components in the right place on the new OS, just like a fresh install.

You don’t need install scripts or source code for your legacy applications. Migration Intelligence saves weeks and months of effort usually needed to upgrade applications to new servers and test them.


If you’re ready to move and need help with upgrading your Microsoft Server applications or would like to understand Migration Intelligence, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We modernize applications and move them to new secure Windows operating systems every day and are pleased to share what we know.