Windows Server 2012 R2 will discontinue soon, What to do now?

The most famous server, Windows Server 2012 R2 (codenamed “Windows Server Blue”), is part of the Windows NT family. This seventh version of server-based Windows is approaching its end of life.

Windows server 2012r2 end of life
Windows server 2012r2 end of life

Recently, Windows sent a reminder to its customers about the discontinuation of support and updates for Windows servers. These servers reached their limit in 2018. However, at that time, Windows provided users with a 5-year grace period to migrate to a newer version or alternative Windows solutions.

What does Microsoft’s announcement mean?

The current scheduled date for discontinuation of Windows Server support is the 10th of October 2023. This is Microsoft’s 3rd reminder for the discontinuation of Windows Server 2012 R2, following the 2018 and 2021 reminders. Redmond has announced that it will not provide further technical support or security updates.

This will cause the Windows server to become highly unstable, as newly discovered issues will remain unresolved, and the occurrence of bugs will increase over time. However, the major issue is security updates, which will make servers running on 2012 R2 a prime target for cyberattacks.

There are a few options available to you if you are still using Windows Server 2012 R2.

Upgrade Your Windows Server 2012 R2.

If you are still using Windows 2012 R2 and the migration to another version of Windows Server or Microsoft Azure will take time, it is recommended that you update your Windows before support discontinuation. This will provide you with enough time to keep the server running until you are ready to migrate to a newer option.

Windows will provide extended security updates for the next three years. This is for those customers who cannot meet the deadline and have subscription licenses and software assurance. However, these extended security updates are a temporary solution and cannot be completely relied upon. Windows has already mentioned that those who want to continue using them will be doing so at their own risk.

Let us further explore the Azure options you have for migration.

Migrate to Azure.

Migrating to Microsoft Azure is another excellent way to update your server or continue using the 2012 R2 server. Azure provides a variety of options to choose from, including Azure Virtual Machine, Azure Arc, Dedicated Azure Host, and Azure Stack HCI.

Windows Schedule for upgrades of 2012r2
Windows security updates schedule: After discontinuation of 2012r2

For on-premises servers, Windows suggests users move their databases onto Azure Arc. For other users, there is the option of Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines, where they can avail themselves of free 3-year extended security updates even after the end of Server 2012 R2. Azure Arc customers will receive scheduled automated updates and installation with all of the Azure security capabilities.

Azure will also provide support for the migration process for all customers through the Azure Migration and Modernization Program. Here are some reasons to migrate to Azure.

  • Modernization of .NET apps by using Azure App Service
  • To containerize and manage your workload you can use Azure Kubernetes Services
  • To patch and upgrade the old apps and programs Azure provides Azure SQL. SQL Server database which is a PaaS service.
  • Azure simplifies the process of updating and managing Windows Server with Azure Automanage.

After exploring the Azure options and their benefits, the users of Server 2012 R2 now have an additional choice of upgrading to Windows Server 2019 R2.

Windows Server In-Place Upgrade.

Another option for users of Server 2012 R2 is to upgrade to Windows Server 2019 R2. Instead of performing a fresh installation, users can choose to conduct an in-place upgrade of Windows. This will simply upgrade their 2012 R2 server to the 2019 R2 version. This option is safe and ideal for those who wish to continue using their old hardware and maintain the safety of their data.

In the final era of Server 2012 R2, this article provides users with multiple options to maintain server operations, such as migrating their servers to Azure and preserving their databases. Another option available is upgrading to a newer version of Windows Server.


Kamil Anwar

Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.