Microsoft’s end of support for Windows Server 2008 could very well mark the beginning of a whole new era of productivity, security and innovation for your organization.

We tend to focus on the latest and greatest in modern IT. Yet the fact is, fully half of all servers in operation are five to seven years old, running aging software like Microsoft Windows Server 2008.

If you’re among that 50 percent whose business relies on legacy systems, this news from September’s Microsoft Ignite conference directly impacts you: Microsoft will terminate support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 effective January 14, 2020. The end of service ax falls even sooner for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 – July 19, 2019, a little over eight months away.

But, here’s the good news: The end of support could be the motivating factor that propels you along the critical path to a full IT transformation, starting with modern software solutions and the servers that drive them. Here are three compelling reasons to refresh, based on the technology-related challenges you’re facing, and the immediate benefits you could start enjoying with a well-planned server upgrade.

Reason One: You’ll be ready for tomorrow’s most demanding workloads

According to a 2017 Gartner survey, CIOs consider an analytics and AI strategy to be their top investment priority. In addition, enterprise IP traffic is expected to triple by 2020. All these developments are straining IT and require a modernized infrastructure to support it. Moreover, there’s no such thing as “business as usual” anymore; to compete today, businesses must embrace rapid, disruptive change as their new reality. And essential to that change is IT modernization.

Some 71 percent of organizations cite aging infrastructure as their biggest barrier to transformation. Businesses simply cannot compete on aging legacy systems that were never built for the demands of a digital economy. To remain competitive for the long term, modernizing your infrastructure is your best strategy. With a well-planned upgrade comes the opportunity to enjoy the full capabilities of today’s server technologies – easily handling mission-critical workloads that would swamp your legacy systems.

For example, new hardware running Windows Server 2019 optimized for Intel Xeon Scalable processors delivers a 4X performance increase over comparable five-year-old systems. Another emerging solution is Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory, also optimized for Windows Server 2019. Representing a new class of memory and storage, Intel Optane technology combines high capacity, affordability and persistence to better optimize workloads by moving and maintaining larger amounts of data closer to the processor.

Reason Two: You’ll be protected by powerful new safeguards

Security breaches and cybercrime are growing in number and sophistication, impacting businesses to the tune of $2.1 trillion by 2019. A vulnerable OS exposes you to a world of business-busting attacks, from ransomware to outright theft. Compliance failures likewise could spell the end of valued relationships as you’re no longer able to adequately protect customers’ proprietary information to GDPR and HIPAA standards.

IT modernization lets you deploy the latest hardware-based security for root-of-trust protection and full data encryption. From Windows Defender Advanced Threat Detection to Intel® Trusted Execution Technology, modern servers are equipped with an array of hardened and multi-layered security capabilities. With features such as next-gen firewalls, Security with Software-defined Networking, and identity and access management, modern security is built deep into the platform, out of reach from attackers.

Reason Three: You’ll be ready for the way tomorrow’s business gets done

Did we say three reasons? In fact, there are virtually countless benefits to a server refresh:

  • Decrease costs of all kinds – Maintenance expenses from legacy systems, unplanned downtime, power usage all can hurt your TCO. Whereas organizations that modernize experience up to 69 percent less revenue losses.
  • Find an easier path to the hybrid cloud – Fully 90 percent of organizations will have developed a cloud strategy by 2020 to support mission-critical applications with highly scalable and flexible performance. It’s time to get on board with an IT infrastructure that’s up to the task.
  • Support expanding workloads and DevOps – In fact, companies that modernize can speed time-to-insight from analytics and AI technologies. Could your legacy server let you do that?
  • Start leveraging the full benefits of Windows Server 2019 – everything from improved application platforms to containerization and pervasive encryption – and so much more.

Now is the time to begin your server refresh plan

It’s no longer a matter of if, but when. Regardless of how reliable your server system has been up until now, before Windows Server 2008 support goes away, you’ll want to be proactive about moving on – and up. There’s still time to plan a sensible upgrade strategy, and to take the steps necessary to carry it through with confidence.

Whichever technology options you wish to explore – hybrid cloud, hyperconverged infrastructures, virtualized networks, or the full capabilities of Windows Server 2019 or 2016 – bring your challenges to WWT’s Advanced Technology Center (ATC). Our ATC is the collaborative ecosystem that can design, build, educate, demonstrate and deploy the innovative technology products to transform your business. And, WWT hosts regular workshops on our campus to keep customers knowledgeable about emerging technologies for business transformation.

What’s more, the “Silicon Valley in St. Louis” has expanded to a brand-new facility in Washington, D.C.: in early November WWT unveiled its 11,000-square-foot Innovation Center, designed to serve WWT’s federal agency customers with the knowledge, speed, agility and independent viewpoint they need to make informed technology decisions.

Through integrated systems demos, proofs of concept, Lab as a Service and other offerings, our ATC and Innovation Center resources can showcase these latest server solutions, helping you replace your legacy systems and move up to a most refreshing change.

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