2020: The year that Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (R2), Windows 7, and Exchange Server 2010 went End of Support

From a support point of view, there were three key pieces of software that went End of Support (EOS) in 2020 – Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (including 2008 R2), and Microsoft Exchange Server 2010.

2020: The year that Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (R2), Windows 7, and Exchange Server 2010 went End of Support

2020 was the year that probably caused most IT departments to tear many plans up during the scramble to move users to home working.

From a support point of view, there were three key pieces of software that went End of Support (EOS) in 2020 – Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (including 2008 R2), and Microsoft Exchange Server 2010.  All three of these had enjoyed widespread adoption and, certainly in the case of Windows 7, users had been resistant to change to Windows 8 and 10; I can still remember having to downgrade newly purchased PC’s from Windows 8 to 7 for a considerable amount of time – HP even used to offer already downgraded models to Windows 7 in their ProDesk range of desktop PCs.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 was originally planned to go end of support on the 14th January 2020, however, this was extended until 13th October 2020 by Microsoft via an announcement on their web site[1].
Exchange 2010 was very widely used – and the upgrade process to the now latest version is not straight forward. At the time of writing this blog post, Exchange 2019 is the latest – however, Exchange 2019 cannot run alongside Exchange 2010 within the same Active Directory domain; Exchange 2016 needs to be deployed first (with a migration completed), and only then can Exchange 2019 be introduced – a two stage process, with both stages being on the hefty side.

With the end of support, and most importantly regular security patches and updates, these operating systems are a potential attack vector within your network – especially when two of the three are very often internet-facing. Put simply, they can’t be ignored.

So what does 2021 hold?

Potentially the biggest change is the end of Skype for Business (although it won’t officially go EOS until later) which was announced back in 2019 and heralded the acceleration of the move to Microsoft Teams.  If you are still running Lync Server, then all editions end support in April 2021.

Project Server 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 also go end of support, as does Microsoft Dynamics 2011.

Potentially, then, nothing too heavy – although migrating to a new version of SharePoint can be problematic and need multiple steps to get to the latest version – but not nearly as bad as last year’s double whammy of desktop and server operating systems.  Looking ahead on Microsoft’s support lifecycle, the next potentially painful year is 2023, with both Windows 8 and Server 2012 (including R2) ending support.  We don’t see much Windows 8 out in the wild these days – users were very keen to hold onto their 7 boxes until they were forced to give them up – but  Windows Server 2012 R2 is a different kettle; we certainly still support a lot of services on that operating system and we will need to see what plans need to be made in the run-up over the course of the next two and a half years.

Continual upgrade and maintenance is a crucial but thankless task that falls to the IT team – users don’t like change, even when ultimately it’s for their benefit, but evidence suggests that it is ignored at peril.

If you have some upgrade projects you need assistance with, get in contact with us today to see how we can help.

[1] https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/announcements/exchange-server-2010-support-extended

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