BizTalk Server, some versions of Windows 10, Windows mobile, Azure scheduler and Microsoft SQL Server 2008. What do all these Microsoft products have in common? In 2019, Microsoft will stop supporting them and if your business uses any of them, you will want to start planning now for upgrades and replacements.
The above software is just a small sampling of the products that are at the end of their support lifecycle with Microsoft. In October, the company updated its End of Service list, which includes more than 50 products for which service is ending or changing.
Businesses that have been relying on older software should check the full list, or even better, check the Microsoft Product Database for their specific products to make sure their software is still covered by Microsoft support. But first, what is "end of support"?
What does 'end of support' mean?
End of support means pretty much what it sounds like: Microsoft is no longer supporting that version of the software or service pack.
That means no new security updates, no patches, no bug fixes, no non-security updates, no support from the company — free or paid — and no online technical content updates. In other words, you can keep running with what you've got but you're on your own.
If it breaks or doesn't play nicely with new hardware or software, you won't be able to get support from Microsoft or Microsoft partners near you.
Also included in the list from Microsoft are products that are moving from mainstream to extended support. Mainstream support is typically the first five years of a product's life, when that version is top of mind with Microsoft and new features are still being added. Extended support is generally the next five years; the system is still supported, but less, usually because a new version has been released. There are no new features or design changes but there are still bug fixes and patches.
After that? End of the line and end of support.
What can you do when a Microsoft product is no longer supported?
If you're panicking, don't. Every year products lose company support. This isn't new or catastrophic but it is something you should prepare for, especially if your organization has been relying on older Microsoft software.
If a product you're using is on the list, you may choose to respond in one of two ways: you can either upgrade it to the latest version or it may be simpler to migrate onto a newer platform. If you're not certain which of these two options is appropriate for you, it may be time to reach out to a Microsoft partner near you. A partner can learn about your business needs and help you upgrade the products that need updating or can recommend another solution that better serves your needs.
It's also important to note that you have some time to prepare. While some products reach the end of service in January 2019, some will continue to be eligible for service well into 2019. Some don't reach the end of service until December of 2019. Now is the time to starting planning for those upgrades, so come this time next year, you're not left hanging.
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