Microsoft has announced that it will continue to provide Extended Security Updates (ESUs) program for Windows Server 2012 until October 2026. This extension gives administrators more time to either upgrade their systems or transition to Microsoft’s Azure platform.
Previously, mainstream support for Windows Server 2012 concluded in October 2018, but Microsoft has decided to extend this period by five more years. This move was aimed to facilitate customers in their transition to newer versions of Windows Server. As of the October 2023 Patch Tuesday, Microsoft ceased providing technical support and updates for issues that impact the stability or usability of devices running on this operating system.
However, since transitions of this nature are resource-intensive, Microsoft has decided to provide updates for three additional years to give administrators more runway to upgrade their Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows Embedded Server 2012 R2.
For organizations that find it challenging to migrate, they have the option to purchase Windows Server 2012 Extended Security Updates. These updates can be seamlessly deployed on-premises or in hosted environments through Azure Arc, eliminating the need for keys and allowing direct management via the Azure portal.
Microsoft has also provided a detailed guide on how to extend protection in increments of 12 months for up to three years. The schedule for these updates is as follows:
- Extended Security Update Year 1: Oct 11, 2023 - Oct 8, 2024
- Extended Security Update Year 2: Oct 9, 2024 - Oct 14, 2025
- Extended Security Update Year 3: Oct 15, 2025 - Oct 13, 2026
Administrators seeking to maintain their on-premises Windows Server 2012 servers with ongoing security updates and fixes have the option to upgrade to Windows Server 2022. Alternatively, they can migrate their databases and applications to Azure Virtual Machines, which would provide them with free extended security updates for three years after the end-of-support date.
Furthermore, Azure Arc can be utilized to automatically deploy purchased ESUs on-premises and extend Azure’s security and governance features to their environments.
Nevertheless, all admins are encouraged to upgrade their Windows Server systems as soon as possible. The increasing sophistication and frequency of cyberattacks make it more critical than ever to understand the risks of running applications and data on out-of-date software.
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