Server 2012 reaches the end of support in October 2023. Make your plan to upgrade yours sooner than later.
If your business has one or more servers in operation, now is the time to see if you need to plan for an upgrade next year. Server 2012 will reach the end of support on October 30, 2023. That may seem like a long time off, but this upgrade can be a big project. The odds are good that not only will you need an upgrade to the 2012 Server Operating System, but you may need new hardware as well.
If your server is running Server 2012, it may be getting long in the tooth in terms of server hardware life expectancy. The industry standard for server hardware replacement is typically around five or six years. Once the hardware gets older, the odds of components like hard drives and power supplies failing increase considerably. Some will argue that you are fine as long as you keep a warranty on your server. While it is nice to have financial protection against hardware failure, having an outage while your server is repaired can be costly to your business.
Upgrade or Extend Support?
There is an option to purchase extended support for your Server 2012 operating system, but it doesn’t usually make good sense to buy that. Microsoft offers one year of extended support for 75% of the cost of a new Server OS license. This will provide you with critical security updates and patches for your server OS. It is one way to buy you some time if your budget is tight, but eventually, this won’t make sense financially. The price increases to 100% in year two and 125% in year three. After three years, extended security options are no longer available.
These options may allow you to delay spending the money on new server hardware. However, you end up paying the cost of your operating system three times over. Add the cost of a warranty and you will quickly end up paying what you would have paid to upgrade everything in the first place. If your budget is tight, you may want to consider leasing a new server rather than nursing your old one along.
Will my server stop working if I don’t upgrade it or extend support?
Your server will continue to operate after support ends on the operating system. However, keeping an unsupported operating system on your network is inherently risky. Once support ends on any operating system, updates, and patches that close critical security holes end as well. It is kind of like leaving the doors unlocked to your business at night. You’re leaving weaknesses in the security of your critical business information open to those who are trying to steal it or deny your access to it.
I work with mostly smaller businesses and I am frequently told that “we’re not really a target for cybercrime.” That is an unfortunate misconception by many small business owners and leaders. The reality is, if your business has any money, it is a target for cybercrime.
Rarely are businesses targeted specifically. Most crooks operating in this space are taking a shotgun approach to their attacks. They simply look to find weaknesses in the network security of a business that they can leverage to do harm. Whether they steal information to sell on the dark web or launch a ransomware attack to coerce you into paying to get it back, the motive is still money. This happens more often than most know. The recent dramatic increase in the cost of cyber insurance is evidence that the risk is growing.
What will a new server cost?
Server hardware is considerably more expensive than a desktop computer, but the labor involved in configuring it, copying your existing data, and putting it into operation can cost even more. It is impossible to provide a cost for all of this because every business has its own unique needs. However, you can figure at least $10,000 to $20,000 per physical server.
Perhaps you have searched online to get an estimated cost of a new server and found something like this one with a low price tag. Don’t be fooled by this because you are probably only finding a piece of all that is needed to build a viable business server. Most servers require that the appropriate amount of memory and storage space are added before they can even function.
Other costs to upgrading your server will include software licenses, other potential hardware upgrades, and the aforementioned labor costs. You may also need to upgrade other network equipment to get the benefits of the capabilities of your new server. For instance, your new server will likely be able to transfer data with at least one-gigabit speed, however, if your network switch(es) can only operate at 100 Mbps, you will miss the benefit.
Start planning now for server upgrades
You may be wondering why I wrote this article a year before Server 2012 reaches end-of-life. It is important to get out in front of changes like this because they are expensive and labor-intensive. Planning well in advance will allow your IT staff or IT Services Provider time to get the appropriate equipment and design a comprehensive plan for the change. Since most businesses rely on their server(s) to operate, having a well-designed plan for that project is paramount.
Unfortunately, IT expenses are perpetual. Buying a server is not like buying a car, for instance. I currently drive a car that is nearly nine years old and has over 150,000 miles on it. It does everything I need it to do so I can afford to extend its life as long as possible. Your business server, on the other hand, must be updated to remain secure and running efficiently. There are soft costs that are impossible to calculate when IT equipment is performing poorly or causes problems. You end up with hours and hours of lost labor when your IT systems perform poorly.
I want to develop an annual IT budget, but I don’t know where to begin
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