Windows Server 2008 support extension gives IT time to catch up

In recognition that server upgrades can be glacially slow, Microsoft extended Windows Server 2008 support as it rolls out the OS' heir apparent.

Microsoft's extended Windows Server 2008 support is welcome news to IT pros who won't upgrade to Windows Server...

2012 for at least a year.

Microsoft this week announced an extra year and a half of mainstream, technical Windows Server 2008 support for the aging but still popular operating system. The extension is meant to give IT pros a little breathing room while they prepare to roll out Windows Server 2012, and they're likely going to need it. The new server will probably take a year or more to test and perhaps two or more years to roll out as users wait for applications and IT to catch up.

The upgrade cycle for Windows Server is very slow.

Tim Bajarin,
president and principal analyst, Creative Strategies Inc.

"A lot of people aren't prepared to switch over to Windows Server 2012 yet," said Bill Miller, director of IT for South Carolina's Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services.

The department uses Windows Server 2008 as its primary application server and has some legacy Windows Server 2003 implementations still in place as well. Miller would like to move to Windows Server 2012 but needs to proceed cautiously, so the extra Windows Server 2008 support time is a benefit, he said.

Microsoft shipped Windows Server 2012 earlier this month. The OS adds significant new cloud capabilities and enhancements to the Hyper-V virtualization hypervisor, plus upgrades to its PowerShell scripting environment and the Server Message Block protocol.

In TechTarget's Windows Purchasing Intentions 2012 survey, 87% of respondents identified some version of Windows Server as their primary server OS, broken down as follows: Windows Server 2008 Release 2 (R2) Service Pack 1 (SP1) (62%), the original Windows Server 2008 (14%) and Windows Server 2003 (11%).

Microsoft's support lifecycle for business and development products normally provides five years of no-cost mainstream support, starting on the date of original release or two years from the release of the most recent update, whichever comes later. In this case, the most recent update, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, was delivered in February 2011.

Free Windows Server 2008 support for the R2 version was set to expire on July 9, 2013, but Microsoft has pushed back the date to Jan. 13, 2015.

"Microsoft truly understands that the upgrade cycle for Windows Server is very slow," said Tim Bajarin, president and principal analyst at Creative Strategies Inc., a corporate advisory firm in Campbell, Calif.

Application compatibility is one reason Windows Server upgrades take so long. In the health care field, for example, some vendors' medical applications will run only in a 32-bit environment, not on Windows Server 2012.

"I can guarantee that those vendors won't be ready next year," said Rob McShinsky, a senior systems engineer at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. "I would like to go to Windows 2012, but we're bound to our vendors, [so] an extra 18 months can't hurt."

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When will you deploy Windows Server 2012?
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No Plans as yet to deploy 2012 until R2
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Just rolled out Server 2008 after years of testing. We need to study in depth Server 2012 before making another transition.
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Server 2012 doesn’t appear to be geared towards smaller businesses. Until/unless I can be convinced that it isn’t going to be bloatware, it’s got a no go vote from me!
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Win2012 is very different from Win2008 and even Win2003. Until our IT dept becomes up to dat on this newer OS, we will not upgrade. This could easily take a couple of years!
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I am just getting comfortable with 2008 R2 and do not envision switching over for at least 2 years if I can hold out that long.
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no budget yet
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still using 2003; installing my 1st 2008 server today, only if a server crashes i might install 2012.
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2008 is old now with a five year lifecycle for our hardware the operating system would be 9 years out of date at end of life.
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Possibaliy in next two years
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upgrading as fast as possible, 2012 is awesome
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We have just implemented new W2K8 R2 Servers
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We will do some testing with Server 2012, but will not deploy in production any time soon. Probably not before 2 years.
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Small businesses can't afford the constant upgrading to new platforms. I still have a windows 2000 server and several 2003 servers in use.

I understand Mircosoft wants to keep things fresh so they can make $$$$ but, this is insane. The economy is still not good enough in the manufacturing sector to support upgrading at this pace.

Even with an extra 1.5 years the cost is too much.
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no plans as of yet
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There are no clear benefits for migrating to Windows Server 2012. Windows Server 2008 is still on our deployment plans.
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only as a member server
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no plans
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.
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just moving to 2008 this year
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quick lets all run out and upgrade our hardware and software.
Does miscrosoft understand that the rest of the world operates on a buget?
when will the at least take a look at the real world?
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Server 2003 still meets 90% of the needs for a 100 user environment.
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Microsoft recently release Small Business Server 2011 which is built on Server 2008. What are they going to do with that? Five-year standard support for that would end in 2016.
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We just started moving to the 2008 R2 platform about 2 years ago, and like so many others, we still have several 2003 servers and 2 2000 server operating systems in our environment. We like what works, and do not want to upgrade for the sake of a pretty interface or name. If it works, and meets our needs, we do not want to add additional workload to our already strained IT department.
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Manufacturing companies haven't got the slack in IT to risk updating only for Exch and file and print. Our ERP is on IBM iSeries, legendary rock solid stability!!
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No reason to switch off Server 2008 R2 SP1. No plans to go to the cloud--why spend money going to the cloud when we have all we need to run in -house?
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no plan
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I'll be deploying it for the Hyper-V capabilities. It may replace our VMware hyper-visors eventually.
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deployed windows server 2012 for new projects
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if it aint broke dont try to fix it!
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I'm in the process of upgrading 2 clients from Windows Server 2003 to 2008 R2. This was after a year of testing and remediation of applications, so I don't see them upgrading to Server 2012 till sometime in 2017 or maybe later. I can understand a 5-year long term support on a desktop OS but server OS should be 10-years. It's been 9-years since 2003 and most companies are moving to 2008 R2 even after 2012 was released, why? Because there's no ambiguity with proven technology. I'm sure Server 2012 is really awesome but if I put it in an environment and it breaks business critical applications that are known to work in Server 2008, I'm out of a job. Testing takes a long time when the application that's supposed to live on the server is critical to the success of a company.
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"aren't prepared to switch over to Windows Server 2012 yet,"
Ha-ha, switch to what? To Windows Server for touchpads? This is never gonna happen.
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Don't see the benefit for a simple file server
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as a educational k-12, funds control much and legacy applications dog any upgrades
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