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SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 near End of Support. Here are new extended support options you should explore.

Today, the world is witnessing fourth industrial revolution. Everything is evolving due to rapid rise of new technologies and fusion of physical and digital spheres. Technology is the most important factor today that is bringing about this revolution. Microsoft’s  technologies are no exception and its almost each day that Microsoft is updating them and improving them to make the world a better connected, developed and secure place to live and work in.

In July 2018, Microsoft announced the End of Support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in mid-2018.

The 2008 release cycle saw a shift from 32-bit to 64-bit computing, advanced analytics and budding server virtualization technology. The new decade marks the era of hybrid cloud, artificial intelligence and other technological innovations.

What does SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 end of support mean for my business?

Microsoft offers 10 years of support to its servers – 5 years for Mainstream support and 5 years as Extended Support, under its lifecycle policy.

End of Support for SQL Server will end on July 9, 2019, and for Windows Server on January 14, 2020.

End of support means Microsoft will not be sharing any security updates or any other kind of support for the 2008 Windows and SQL servers, post the deadline. Lack of security updates will increase the risk of your infrastructure and expose it to cyber-criminals. Also, with no security updates, companies can face several compliance and standard issues. Especially, with GDPR regulations in action, you should not take risk for your business and incur any penalties.

The gravity of the situation lies in the increased risk of cyberattacks and other vulnerabilities on businesses which are not running on the latest server versions.

A report by Symantec, states:

  1. There has been an increase of 92% in new malware downloader variants.
  2. 46% increase in new ransomware variants.
  3. 600% increase in attacks against IoT devices.

You can clearly understand the risk you can put your business in, by not upgrading the software technology.

How to prepare for SQL Server and Windows end of support?

Microsoft ensures that its customers are completely supported during this phase of transition. The company introduced two new options to help organizations transit to the new decade.

New options for SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 End of Life

With the deadlines approaching fast, customers have  very less time left with them to take an action.

Microsoft suggests its users to upgrade to the latest versions of both the software. This will help them leverage software assurance benefits for reduced security risks and continued security updates. However, for the customers who will not be able to make this transition by the end of the deadline, Microsoft has introduced new options:

  • Extended Security Updates by Migrating to Azure

For organizations, which are still running their infrastructure on-premises, the end of life is a golden opportunity to make a shift to the cloud. However, it is easier said than done. Hence, Microsoft is offering Extended Security Updates for SQL and Windows server 2008 for free in Azure for both 2008 and 2008 R2 versions of each. The organizations can:

  1. Rehost their SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 in Azure SQL Database Managed Instance with little to no code changes. Thus, getting a version free platform.
  2. Move to Azure Virtual Machines and upgrade to a newer version when they are ready. Here also, the customers get three years of extended support at no extra charges.
  3. Customers can use the existing licenses and save nearly 55 percent with Azure hybrid benefit. In case of Windows Server, they can save nearly 80% on Azure VMs through Reserved Instances and Hybrid benefits in Azure.

Customers do not need to have a Software Assurance when moving to Azure. However, they might require it if they wish to leverage Azure Hybrid Benefits.

  • Upgrade on-premises

This seems to be the most straight-away solution i.e. to upgrade to SQL Server 2017 and Windows Server 2016.

SQL Server 2017 is built for greater performance, security, availability and innovation with intelligent cloud analytics.

Customers who are running Windows Server or SQL servers under licenses with an active Software Assurance under an Enterprise Subscription Agreement (EAS), Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) can also purchase Extended Security Updates for three years post end of support deadline. The catch however, is that the customers will be able to buy security updates only for those servers they need to cover.

It should be noted that only Datacenter, Enterprise and Standard editions of SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will be eligible for Extended Security Updates. Customers will need to get updated on the latest service pack for both the services in order to receive Extended Security Updates.

When will the Extended Security Updates option be available?

Those who opt for Azure migration, can begin migrating the workloads to Azure VMs immediately. They can apply security updates until the end of life deadline approaches. Once the deadline is over, Extended Security Updates will become automatically available for giving you continued coverage.

For those who opt for staying on-premises or on hosted environment, Extended Security Updates will be available for purchase as the deadline for end of life approaches. Microsoft will be announcing specific date for this purpose. Extended Support will be delivered immediately after the deadline ends.

Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 will include provision of security updates and other bulletins that are rated critical. These will be available for a maximum of three years post deadline.

This offer will not include:

  • Any technical support. Customers will have to buy Microsoft support plans if they need assistance on 2008/2008 R2 questions.
  • Any offer including, new features, design change, non-security hotfixes etc.
  • There will be no retroactive effect for any of the updates that was declined by the engineering teams in the past.

How much the Extended Security Updates cost?

In Azure: Customers who are running Windows Server or SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 in Azure will be getting Extended Security Updates at no extra charges above the standard VM rates.

Customers who will be moving to Azure SQL (PaaS) database managed instance will not need the Extended Security Updates as it comes as a fully-managed solution. It is always patched and updated by Microsoft.

Hosted: Customers will have to purchase Extended Security Updates for 75% of full on-premises license cost per year and later use them in a hosted environment.

On-Premises: Customers who own any active subscription licenses or software assurance will be able to purchase the Extended Security Updates for 75% of the EA license cost annually. They can also reduce cost by paying only for the servers they need to cover and gradually upgrade the environment.

Our take on the new options

Whether you choose to stay on-premises or in a hosted environment or consider this opportunity as a chance to make your move to the cloud, the only wrong choice you can take is by not making any choice at all.

Ceased support for the servers, is a new opportunity to innovate and explore new options in the cloud or on-premises.

Contact your Microsoft partner or a cloud service provider now, to get complete help and guidance.

Sources:

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Cloud Datacenter News

Microsoft brings Cray supercomputers to Azure

Microsoft has announced an exclusive strategic alliance with global supercomputer leader Cray, to provide dedicated Cray supercomputing systems (Cray XC and Cray CS) in its Azure datacenters. It will enable customers to run AI, HPC, advanced analytics, and modeling and simulation workloads seamlessly on Azure cloud.

Cray’s Aries interconnect and its tightly coupled system architecture addresses the ever-increasing demands for real-time insights, compute capability, and scalable performance by the modern enterprises. With the new partnership, cloud customers can now harness power of supercomputing and artificial intelligence in an agile and cost-effective way.

The Cray systems will integrate with Azure VMs, Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure Machine Learning Services, as well as Microsoft AI platform to offer better workflows, collaboration, performance, scalability, and elasticity to customers.

“Using the enterprise-proven power of Microsoft Azure, customers are running their most strategic workloads in our cloud,” said Jason Zander, corporate vice president, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Corp. “By working with Cray to provide dedicated supercomputers in Azure, we are offering customers uncompromising performance and scalability that enables a host of new previously unimaginable scenarios in the public cloud. More importantly, we’re moving customers into a new era by empowering them to use HPC and AI to drive breakthrough advances in science, engineering and health.”

With Cray supercomputers in Azure, the researchers, scientists, and analysts will be empowered with the capability of training AI deep learning models in fields of medicine and autonomous vehicles. The pharmaceutical and biotech scientists can now perform whole genome sequencing reducing time from computation to cure.

Geophysicists can speed up oil field analysis with reduced exploration risks through better seismic imaging fidelity. Aerospace and automotive engineers can now perform crash simulation, and computational fluid dynamic simulations, create digital twins for quick and proper maintenance and product development. The tasks that used to take weeks and months till now, will now be done within minutes and days.

“Our partnership with Microsoft will introduce Cray supercomputers to a whole new class of customers that need the most advanced computing resources to expand their problem-solving capabilities, but want this new capability available to them in the cloud,” said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray. “Dedicated Cray supercomputers in Azure not only give customers all of the breadth of features and services from the leader in enterprise cloud, but also the advantages of running a wide array of workloads on a true supercomputer, the ability to scale applications to unprecedented levels, and the performance and capabilities previously only found in the largest on-premise supercomputing centers. The Cray and Microsoft partnership is expanding the accessibility of Cray supercomputers and gives customers the cloud-based supercomputing capabilities they need to increase their competitive advantage.”

The supercomputing capabilities in cloud can transform businesses and bring innovation in the coming years. Microsoft has been continuously investing in this field for last several years, and had acquired Cycle Computing for better hybrid HPC deployments.

Also read: Azure advancements remove cloud adoption barriers, going hybrid made easier

The Cray XC and Cray CS supercomputers with attached Cray ClusterStor storage systems will be directly connected to Microsoft Azure network, and will be available for customer-specific provisioning in Microsoft Azure datacenters. Customers can also leverage the Cray Urika-XC analytics software suite and CycleCloud for hybrid HPC management.

Categories
Cloud News News

Microsoft announces preview of burstable VM series

Microsoft has announced the public preview of its new Azure VM family – the B-series, which will offer cost efficiency and burstability to workloads that are running in Azure.

These VMs are best suited for workloads that do not need a continuous CPU performance like web servers, small databases and development/test environments.

The B-series VMs are designed to optimize performance during less workload, and burst capacity during increased workloads.

The concept is quite similar to what AWS and Google have been offering through T2 instances and f1-micro and g1 small instances, respectively.

During less workloads, the B-series VMs will run in low points without utilizing the full capacity of the CPU. However, the user will pay for the full CPU only. Once the VM accumulates enough credits, it can burst above its baseline up to 100% when any application requires high performance.

Thus, these VM sizes will give cost flexibility to the end-users, who can adjust CPU usage during less and heavy workloads.

The company has introduced 6 VM sizes of B-series during preview:

Source: Microsoft

The VM size ranges from single core VM with 1 GiB memory for $0.012 per hour (in case of Linux) to eight core VMs with 32 GiB memory for $0.376 per hour (Linux). Prices for Windows are on a bit higher side.

Microsoft has previewed the VM in US – West 2, US – East, Europe – West and Asia Pacific – Southeast. The company plans to extend regions later this year.

Developers, who want to participate in the preview need to put status quota request in the supported regions.