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

The most famous server windows (Windows Server 2012 r2) code name is “Windows Server Blue”. That is part of the Windows NT family and the seventh version of server-based Windows is coming to its end of life.

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

Recently, Windows has sent a reminder to its customers about the discontinuation of its support and updates for Windows servers. It reached its limit back in 2018. However, at that time Windows gave users 5 year time to migrate to a newer version or alternate Windows solutions.

What Does Microsoft’s Announcement Mean?

The currently scheduled date for discontinuation of Windows Server support is on the 10th of October 2023. This is Microsoft’s 3rd reminder for the discontinuation of Windows Server 2012 r2 after the 2018 and 2021 reminders. Redmond has announced that it will not provide further technical support or security updates.

This will make the Windows server to become highly unstable as newly found issues will not be solved and the occurrence of bugs will increase with time. However, the major issue is security updates, which will make servers running on 2012 r2 a prime target for “Cyber Attacks.”

There are a few options you have if you are still using the Windows server 2012r2.

Upgrade Your Windows Server 2012 r2

If you are still using the Windows 2012 r2 and the migration from windows to another version of windows server or Microsoft Azure will take time. In such a case, it is recommended to update your Windows before the discontinuation of support. This will provide you with enough time to keep running 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 can’t meet the deadline and have subscription licenses and software assurance. However, these extended securities are a temporary solution, and they are not what you can completely rely upon, as Windows has already mentioned that those who want to continue using them will be using them at their own risk.

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

Migrate to Azure

Migrating to Microsoft Azure is another great way to update your server or keep using the 2012R2 server. Azure gives a variety of options to select from, which includes 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, server Windows has suggested user move their database onto Azure arc and for other users Microsoft Azure virtual machine. Where they can avail 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 have another choice of upgrading to Windows Server 2019 r2.

Windows Server in-place upgrade

Another option for the user of server 2012 r2 is to upgrade to Server 2019 r2 windows. Instead of doing a fresh boot, users have a choice to go for an in-place upgrade of Windows. This will simply upgrade your 2012 r2 server to the 2019 r2. This option is safe and best for those who want to keep using the old hardware and want to keep their data safe.

In the ending era of server 2012 r2, this article provides users with multiple options to keep their servers running by migrating their servers to Azure and saving their databases. Another option you have is to upgrade to a newer version of the 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.
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Windows Server 2012 R2 will discontinue soon, What to do now?

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