Last week, Matthew Agnew from IT Weapons wrote a great post on Microsoft ending all support for one of the most popular server operating systems, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. After January 14, 2020 there will be no more security updates, making systems that run these operating systems a magnet for cybersecurity threats – consequently putting businesses at risk. Cyber criminals absolutely know this event is occurring and will attempt to exploit this weakness in vulnerable environments. This happened two years ago with the WannaCry ransomware attack, which exploited organizations that did not patch, or were running an end-of-service Microsoft operating system. WannaCry exploited vulnerable systems and infected them with ransomware, which caused an estimated $4 Billion in damages.
Furthermore, line-of-business applications, such as Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Exchange Server, are usually mission-critical to business operations. Running these applications on Server 2008/R2 not only exposes businesses to security risks, but a lack of vendor support can severely impact productivity combined with unplanned downtime. Imagine for a minute you are a business owner and your payroll application is running on a server platform that is more than eleven years old. Not only is that server operating system no longer secured, but there is a high probability the hardware is also out of warranty, more than seven years old, and is under performing and experiencing unplanned downtime. Without vendor support, getting that old system back up and running after a hardware failure can often be difficult – increasing the time it takes to return the business system to operation.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that when server hardware reaches its third year of life, there is a 62% increase in unplanned outages. Organizations further lose up to 39% in peak performance, and costs start to dramatically increase in both application management and server administration. That is a direct impact to business operations and expenses, and the longer aging hardware remains in an environment there is increased risk for extended periods of unplanned outages.
For out of warranty and aging hardware, repair and maintenance costs also increase exponentially each year a server remains in service. When a server is out of warranty, and a system is down, it is on a best-efforts basis for vendors to find an available part and then deploy a technician to replace it. This also adds additional costs to already strapped IT budgets. As a business owner, keeping old hardware in production is most likely taking your focus away from transformation, and is instead consuming your time managing compounding IT debt caused by aging infrastructure. Aging hardware results in a variety of opportunity costs. Using older versions of software leads to performance drops, and you lose out on consolidation opportunities and improved reliability that modern server infrastructure provides.
Due to budgetary constraints, SMBs often wait for a compelling event to occur before investing in IT infrastructure. The end of support for Windows Server 2008/R2, coupled with aging hardware, are dovetailing events, and businesses are feeling the pressure to act and upgrade their hardware and software.
With each hardware refresh, you can run about 30% more apps at the same time on the same device. Also, newer generations of servers allow for a higher density of virtual machines, which means that heavy-load business applications can be run in a virtualized environment. Since those systems are more powerful, you might need fewer software licenses, and can consider a concurrent platform.
So what are the options for businesses? At All Covered, Konica Minolta’s IT Services Division, we offer a variety of cloud offering technologies to help customers transform their businesses. While most often we hear and talk about moving infrastructure or applications to the cloud, the fact remains that 98% of all firms still have some on-premises servers. This could be a single legacy application that has no SaaS solution, or a hybrid environment where an Active Directory or print server may remain on premises. There is a myriad of reasons why a business may retain some of their infrastructure on site, which is why so many remain positive toward some on-premise server presence. 20% of businesses increased their spending on stand-alone physical servers this year, and 30% plan to increase the number of physical servers on site. Converged IT – a system which groups multiple servers, networking devices, storage and administration and management services into a single optimized computing package – is also gaining considerable traction. This provides greater value-add to small businesses that are looking to reduce the IT footprint and consolidate costs further.
In short, TIME IS UP. Businesses need to act quickly. User productivity and customer data is increasingly at risk of being unavailable or exposed if businesses do not shore up their security posture and stabilize their hardware reliability. Innovation and transformation opportunities are boundless, while also containing costs and consolidating IT infrastructure and operations. In our next post, we will discuss how we at All Covered are helping our customers with the available options to make an informed decision for their business and SIMPLIFY IT.