Secure Windows Server 2012/R2 workloads with options from Azure


We are grateful for the trust our customers have placed in 2012/R2 as a part of their organizations for the past decade. With this release of having launched 10 years ago, it reaches end of support on October 10th, 2023, per our 10-year lifecycle policy. After this date, no more security patches will be released for 2012 and 2012 R2. To stay protected and compliant, we wanted to outline three options for customers from Azure.

Modernize with PaaS or upgrade to a newer version in Azure

Modernization provides organizations with a more future-proof solution by using a cloud-first approach or updating to a newer version. One modernization option is moving to platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions such as Azure SQL Managed Instance or Azure App Service. By modernizing workloads to a PaaS solution, customers can fully offload management and patching tasks in the cloud. This helps teams stay up-to-date, avoid future end-of-support dates, and focus on delivering innovative apps and experiences for their businesses.

Alternatively, customers can migrate and upgrade their Windows Server 2012/R2 with Azure Migrate, our free tool for discovery, assessment, and migration of workloads to Azure. With this feature, organizations can now elect to move their legacy applications and databases to a fully supported, compatible, and compliant operating system. This includes our latest release in Windows Server 2022, which provides organizations with advanced multi-layer security, hybrid capabilities with Azure, and a flexible platform to modernize applications. Learn more about this feature of Azure Migrate.

Migrate to Azure for free Extended Security Updates

If organizations are not able to modernize Windows Server 2012/R2 in time, they can use Extended Security Updates (ESUs), which provide security patches for up to three years past the end of support date.

When organizations migrate end-of-support workloads to Azure, they get free Extended Security Updates. This includes options such as Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Dedicated Host, Azure VMware Solution, and Azure Stack HCI. Combining this with Azure Hybrid Benefit and consumption models such as reserved instances or savings plan for compute allows even more savings in Azure for Windows Server and . 

Organizations can get in-depth resources to help them start their cloud journey on Azure with Azure Migrate and Modernize & Azure Innovate—our new offerings that provide end-to-end support from migration and modernization to infusing the latest innovation in analytics and .

Stay protected in hybrid and multicloud environments with ESUs enabled by Azure Arc

For organizations who aren't able to modernize or migrate prior to the Windows Server 2012/R2 end of support date this October, they can protect their hybrid and multicloud workloads with ESUs enabled by Azure Arc. Here are the key benefits:

  • Monthly pay-as-you-go: Activate and enroll from Azure to pay for security updates on a monthly basis, giving organizations more flexibility to migrate and modernize to Azure on their terms.  
  • Seamless delivery: The enrollment of Extended Security Updates on Azure Arc-enabled machines does not require the acquisition or activation of keys. Moreover, customers have the flexibility to use Azure Update Manager or another patching solution of their choice to receive the actual patches.
  • Organize and inventory your assets: Gain visibility and reporting across servers spanning your hybrid, multicloud, and edge infrastructure. 
  • Security and compliance: Extend Azure security and governance services such as Microsoft Defender for Cloud and Microsoft Sentinel to further secure their infrastructure from cloud to edge and stay compliant with supported software. ESUs enabled by Azure Arc also gives free access to Azure Update Manager, Machine Configuration, and Change Tracking and Inventory for further and easier delivery of patches.

Connect to Azure Arc today to get started with ESUs enabled by Azure Arc or learn more here.

Prepare for other end of support dates

As organizations continually modernize their estate, there are several other end of support dates to keep in mind for Windows Server and customers:

  • Prepare for 2014 end of support. Many Windows Server customers often run SQL Server for their databases, which also has some end of support dates to be aware of. SQL Server 2012 reached end of support on July 12th, 2022, and the upcoming end of support deadline is for SQL Server 2014, which reaches end of support on July 9th, 2024. Organizations have the same three options outlined above to protect SQL Server 2014 workloads.

See the lifecycle of products supported with Extended Security Updates here.

Start modernizing for end of support

Here are a few key resources to learn more so you can be prepared for current and future end of support scenarios:


This article was originally published by Microsoft's Windows Server Blog. You can find the original article here.