July 24, 2023

    What To Do About Windows Server 2012 R2 End of Life

    We’re rapidly approaching the end of support for all editions of Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. After October 10, 2023, these products will no longer receive critical security updates, bug fixes and technical support. While companies must pay attention to this critical end-of-life message, there’s no reason to panic. You have several options to ensure you have the necessary tools and support.

    What Does the End-of-Life Message Mean? 

    If your organization still relies on any version of Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2, you must immediately find an alternative operating system. Microsoft typically backs each operating system version with five years of mainstream support and another five of extended support. During this decade-long support window, Microsoft provides regular security upgrades and support.

    Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 2012 more than four years ago. However, they delayed the end of their extended support services for these products to give their customers plenty of time to migrate to newer Windows Server versions. However, by October 2023, technical support and bug fixes for these products will end, which will most certainly impact the usability, security and stability of servers running Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2, not to mention the potential for privacy compliance issues for anyone continuing to use these products.

    Microsoft regularly issued warnings about this end-of-life service retirement beginning in 2021. Now that the October 2023 date is fast approaching, organizations must make a move to a new operating system or face potential issues in their critical infrastructures. 

    The Enavate team will continue to support your environments in our Cloud; however, as of October, we will no longer be able to reach out to Microsoft for escalation on the Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2 operating systems. For customers, this could mean a major disruption of any mission-critical applications still running these operating systems.

    What are the options after Windows Server 2012 or Server 2012 R2? 

    Microsoft recommends two options for users who need to move away from Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2:

    • Option 1: Secure on-premises operating systems with an upgrade to a more recent release version, such as Windows Server 2019 or SQL Server 2019.
    • Option 2: Move workload to the Azure Cloud for the full-Cloud or hybrid experience. This process moves on-premises server data to Windows Server and SQL Server Azure Virtual Machines. One benefit beyond upgrading to the latest security patches is that Microsoft offers three years of free upgrades. Organizations can also modernize their architectures to Platform as a Service (PaaS) to take advantage of automated Cloud patches and upgrades.

    To keep your on-premises Windows Server 2012 operating systems running, you could also purchase Extended Security Updates (ESUs).  This option only applies to Microsoft Enterprise clients; ESUs are another band-aid because these contracts currently extend for three more years of security updates, which must be renewed each year until October 13, 2026.

    ESU Yearly Agreements 

    Start Date 

    End Date 


    Extended Security Update Year 1 

    Oct. 11, 2023 

    Oct. 8, 2024 

    75% of License Cost 

    Extended Security Update Year 2 

    Oct. 9, 2024 

    Oct. 14, 2025 

    100% of License Cost 

    Extended Security Update Year 3 

    Oct. 15, 2025 

    Oct. 13, 2026 

    125% of License Cost 

    You could also build new on-premises servers on the latest and greatest Microsoft Operating software versions and reinstall your applications. This process could also be an ideal time to upgrade your mission-critical applications. However, this option takes fiscal and operational planning and stakeholder buy-in to facilitate these on-site server room upgrades.   

    Can I Keep Windows 2012?

    Technically, you can keep Windows 2012, but it comes at a cost. Organizations that fail to update their operating systems will be at increased risk of cyber-attacks and noncompliance with state and federal privacy or other industry-related rules.  

    Suppose you qualify for the extended ESU service. In that case, there is a premium cost attached to this option, along with the reality that you are simply delaying the inevitable necessity of software and hardware modernization.

    Enavate Recommendation for Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 End of Life 

    Every corporate IT architecture is unique and complex. Your organization must weigh options based on individual use cases, costs and generally what approach makes the most sense for your company and customers this year.

    With that said, the Enavate team has an expert Azure migration team. We can migrate your current on-premises or virtual private Cloud environment.  Migrating to Azure has many benefits, such as: 

    • Cost savings 
    • Reduced vendor and technical complexity 
    • Lowered capital costs  
    • Faster response to regulatory compliance changes 
    • Faster, real-time security upgrades 
    • Scalability to meet market demands

    An Azure migration lays the groundwork for new technological capabilities in a more modern Cloud environment. Increasingly, organizations are choosing Cloud or hybrid architectures to reap the benefits of modernization. If your company is affected by the end-of-life server support for Microsoft 2012 or 2012 R2, contact our expert team today to discuss your options. 

    Alfredo Porto

    Alfredo Porto is a Senior Service Delivery Manager for Enavate and a catalyst for change. Through his work at Enavate and as an evangelist in Microsoft Azure, he continues to inspire and empower organizations to embrace innovation and thrive in the digital age. One of Alfredo's greatest strengths lies in his ability to listen. He understands that behind every customer request lies a deeper motivation—their "Why." Alfredo takes pride in viewing clients as partners, working together to achieve their goals.

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