How Partners can help customers through their end-of support journey


Partners! Did you know there’s a HUGE opportunity to support your customers as their SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 products reach end-of support? This blog post walks you through what you need to know, say, and do to help your customers and make the most of this opportunity for your business.

The risk customers face

Your customers, big and small, may not fully understand what end-of-support means or heard the news about these legacy products. Help them understand that end-of-support means the end of regular security updates. As cyberattacks become increasing sophisticated and frequent, running apps and data on those old platforms creates significant security and compliance risk.

The 2008 products were great for their time, but it’s vital to upgrade to the most current versions for better performance and regular security updates.


SQL Server and Windows Server end of support dates

How can partners help?

Partners can help their customers, big and small, protect their reputation and operations from cyberattack through modernization. With your expert assistance, customers can transform their applications and infrastructure and take full advantage of the power and security built into today’s versions of SQL Server and Windows Servers.

Help your customers get ready for the future and take full advantage of today’s technologies—on their terms.


Start with discovery

Uncover your customers’ current infrastructure and needs. Identify all the applications they run on 2008 and 2008 R2 versions of SQL Server and Windows Server. Once you’ve inventoried their workloads, recommend the best migration/upgrade path for each. Create a plan to move their applications to the cloud, securely.

Uncover your customers’ current infrastructure and needs

Two paths to upgrading

While we encourage every organization to digitally transform with secure cloud services, it is important that we meet customers where they are. For those customers who prefer to run their own, on-premises infrastructure there’s also an on-premises solution. (See graphic above for a visual summary).

  • Path 1: Transform with Azure
  • Path 2: On-premises upgrade

Azure Modernization oportunity

Azure = huge opportunity

As a certified Microsoft technology expert, you’re in the perfect position to drive the modernization opportunity (see graphic above). You change the conversation from break-and-fix to digital transformation, on their terms. Ask your customers about what they want to do and dream of doing and then explain how Azure makes it possible.

Now, let’s cover the support details and partner resources you can use.

SQL Server 2008 end of support

On July 9, 2019, support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end. That means the end of regular security updates. Don’t let your customers infrastructure and applications go unprotected. Migrate them to the modern version of SQL for greater database security, performance and innovation! Use this on-demand webinar to explain how to buy and run SQL in Azure. Visit the announcement page for more product and security specifics.

Windows Server 2008 end of support

On January 14, 2020, support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end. That means the end of regular security updates. Migrate your customers to Azure where they can benefit from enterprise-class security. But, for those who insist on-prem is still best for them, there’s also Windows Server 2016. Use this on-demand webinar to explain the modern landscape and their choices in it.

Extended Security Updates

Microsoft has introduced Extended Security Updates offers to assist organizations struggling to upgrade everything before the end-of-support timeline. Extended Security Updates will be available for free in Azure for 2008 and 2008 R2 versions of SQL Server and Windows Server to help secure workloads for three more years after the deadline. Customers can rehost their workloads to Azure with no application code change.

Big savings!

What’s more, in Azure, customers running 2008 or 2008 R2 versions of SQL Server and Windows Server in Azure virtual machines will get Extended Security Updates for free. Customers with active Software Assurance or subscription licenses can purchase Extended Security Updates annually for 75 percent of the full license cost of the latest version of SQL Server or Windows Server.

End-of-support Q&A

Is now a time to move to the cloud? -> That depends on you, but most customers benefit immediately. But for those who run their own datacenter(s), Microsoft also provides modern on-premises solutions of Windows Server and SQL Server.

Question: How do I upgrade to the newest versions?
Answer: Microsoft has some great SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 end-of-support options on hand to help customers manage this transition and carry them through the next decade, including provided an Extended Security Update for free.

Question: How you help me optimize cost?
Answer: On premises or in the cloud, Microsoft’s modern servers and hyperconverged solutions deliver important security features as well as performance and cost efficiency. Customers pay for only the servers they need and avoid the cost of purchasing and managing their own infrastructure.

Question: What if I can’t upgrade before the deadline?
Answer: For on-premises severs that need more time to upgrade, you can purchase Extended Security Updates for three more years. This offer is a great option to continue getting security updates while you upgrade or migrate to Azure.

Question: Will my applications run on Azure or newer version of SQL Server and Windows Server?
Answer: Yes. Customers can rehost dozens of applications running on thousands of virtual machines to Azure, then they can transform and develop new applications using more advanced Azure services, including AI.

Question: Can the cloud help me make this end of support my last?
Answer: Yes. You will receive automatic updates from Microsoft going forward. That means you will your organization will have access to the latest productivity and security innovations as they become available.

For more details, please refer to frequently asked questions for Extended Security Updates.

Get to know Azure services better

Azure migration center -> Azure is the only hybrid cloud to help you with cost-effective, flexible cloud migration paths. Explore the tools and resources needed to migrate apps, data, and infrastructure at your customers’ pace, with confidence. This customer-friendly website explains the modern Azure migration journey and how Windows & SQL fit in.

Data modernization resources -> From presentations on the benefits of deploying hybrid cloud solutions in Azure to a customer FAQ collateral piece on what end-of-support means, we’ve put together a bunch of the latest assets for partners to use in their presentations—all in one folder. You can download and use these data modernization resources to help your customers understand and explore their options.