Your Options Once Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 are Gone
By the time you read this, Microsoft has retired both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 operating systems. If you still are utilizing this software in your business at this point, you need to upgrade, or else deal with the security consequences and possible legal issues with unsupported software. Here, we’ll review your options.
First Option - Purchase Upgraded Hardware and Migrate Your Data
This is probably the most desirable and cost-effective approach, since the cost to upgrade existing systems is probably about 25% of the cost of a new system. Why paint a rusty car, it won’t make it run better! New systems a far more powerful than those of just a few years ago and if your current systems are three or more years old, then replacement is the best option. The second reason is standardization, having all your systems the same model and under warranty reduces maintenance costs.
Finally, the smart move these days is Hardware-as-a-Service, or HaaS. Working with a leasing company, Automation Concepts and bundle new computers, Office 365, and maintenance into an affordable monthly cost. Like Managed Services, HaaS gives you up-to-date computing power at a fixed monthly rate and on a scheduled upgrade plan.
The Second Option - Upgrade Existing Systems
It is important that we clarify something: it isn’t as though your unsupported technology will no longer work, per se. However, you will most likely be in violation of several laws depending on the industry you are in. Also, it will become more difficult to find the hardware, software, and operating systems that will operate properly, leaving your business more vulnerable to the many problems that unsupported software creates. You can upgrade your systems from Window 7 to Windows 10, provided that you have been working with a Managed Service Provider that has kept your systems patched and up-to-date and the hardware is only a year or so old. An upgrade will take a few hours for each computer, providing there are no issues. This means down time for each user and upgrades are usually an additional labor cost. Upgrading servers is not recommended.
If upgrading is your chosen approach, there is the chance that your existing hardware is capable of supporting Windows 10. Here are the minimum specifications required to do so:
- Processor - 1 GHZ or faster
- RAM - 1 GB for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
- Hard disk space - 16 GB for 32-bit or 20 GB for 64-bit
- Graphics card - DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
- Display - 800 x 600 resolution
Remember, this is the bare-bones minimum, so operating at these specs isn’t going to be super-efficient. Our recommendation is that you have at least a 2 GHz dual-core processor, supported by between 4-to-8 GB of RAM, and a hard drive with at least 160 GBs of space.
The Third Option - Microsoft 365 for your server
Admittedly, Microsoft 365 won’t do much to resolve any problems you have with Server 2008 R2, it is a good option if you have redundant internet connections and you are ready to ditch you server all together. With Microsoft 365 you a comprehensive Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite (including Microsoft Teams, Outlook email, and OneDrive storage space) and security tools that allow you to retain control of your organization’s data. By moving your files into Microsoft Teams, you can really free yourself from the physical office.
The Last Option - Virtualization
The final option you have is to leverage the cloud and migrate your data over to a virtualized environment. Doing so may be more cost-effective than purchasing new hardware, and depending on your business, you may have more options. Businesses now use virtual machines in AWS and Microsoft Azure to deliver Windows 10 and other software titles. For companies with redundant internet connections, or mostly road warriors, that need limited desktop power, and a small suite of applications this, may be a good approach.
Eliminating the need for large purchases of infrastructure, virtualization can bring a business cost reductions. A monthly billing structure like Cloud or HaaS 9mentioned in Option 1) allows a virtualized solution to become an operational expense as compared to a capital one. The is another caveat with full cloud virtualization --you still need to purchase a thin client or Chrome Book. Plus, virtualization in the Cloud leaves you entirely dependent on an internet connection, so you need to make sure you have a backup internet provider.
While both Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 were helpful and useful Microsoft solutions during their time, their time has passed, and they are no longer viable options.
If these software titles are still present on your network, you need to upgrade today. Discuss your options with one of our expert consultants by calling (508) 285-5080 today.