Windows Server is an essential workload platform for almost every organization, and is one of the most popular operating systems in Azure. Microsoft Azure and Azure Stack HCI offer additional benefits to Windows Server such as the Windows Server 2022 Azure Edition which includes features like hotpatch as part of Azure Automanage and many other things. An additional capacity of running Windows Server in Azure or on Azure Stack HCI, Hub, and Edge, is that you get extended security updates (ESU) included for free for Windows Server and SQL Server which are out of mainstream support. This applies to Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 and will soon apply to Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 when it reaches end of support, plus the corresponding versions of SQL Server.

Let’s have a quick look at your options with End of Support for Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2012. In this blog I tried to provide you with a brief overview as well as links to the necessary resources.

Disclaimer: This post is only to help customer to find the right resources and evaluate their options. Only information from official Microsoft resources are valide.

End of Support for Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2012

SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012, and 2012 R2 End of Extended support is coming:

  • SQL Server 2012 Extended Support will end on July 12, 2022.
  • Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 Extended Support will end on October 10, 2023.
End of Support Windows Server and SQL Server 2012
End of Support Windows Server and SQL Server 2012

Options for SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 End of Support

The best way to address this is of course to upgrade and modernize the latest versions of SQL Server 2022 and Windows Server 2022 or modernize to Azure PaaS services. However, some organizations need some additional time to modernize their platform and environment. For these customer Microsoft offers Extended Security Updates (ESU).

  • In Azure and on-premises (hybrid): Customers running SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 in Azure will get Extended Security Updates for free. Free Extended Security Updates are available for Azure Virtual Machines including Azure Dedicated Host, Azure VMWare Solution, Azure Nutanix Solution, and Azure Stack (Hub, Edge, and HCI).
  • On-premises (no Azure): Customers with active Software Assurance or subscription licenses can purchase Extended Security Updates annually for 75 percent of the license cost of the latest version of SQL Server or Windows Server for the first year, 100 percent of the license cost for the second year, and 125 percent of the license cost for the third year. Customers pay for only the servers they need to cover, so they can reduce costs each year as they upgrade parts of their environment.

You can learn more on the blog from Debbi Lyons (Director, Product Marketing, Azure SQL and Database Migration) and Vijay Kumar (Director, Product Marketing, Windows Server and Azure Arc) here.

End of Support Windows Server 2012 Extended Security Updates for Windows Server and SQL Server in Azure and Azure Stack
End of Support Windows Server 2012 Extended Security Updates for Windows Server and SQL Server in Azure and Azure Stack

If you are looking at a migration to Microsoft Azure, check out my YouTube video on how to migrate servers to Azure using Azure Migrate.

Obtain Windows Server and SQL Server 2012 Extended Security Updates (ESU)

  • In Azure, you can obtain Windows Server Extended Security Updates automatically to your Azure virtual machine through Windows Server Update Service. 
  • Get your SQL Server Extended Security Updates in Azure by registering your subscription with the SQL Server IaaS Agent extension. Learn more about registering your SQL Server virtual machine with the IaaS Agent extension.
  • On-premises, your Windows Server Extended Security Updates will be delivered as any regular Windows Server Update.  
  • On-premises SQL Server Extended Security Updates can be obtained by connecting your SQL Server to Azure Arc.

Additional Resources

  • Support for Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, and SQL Server 2012 Extended Security Updates (ESU) on Azure Stack HCI was announced during Microsoft Ignite 2021.
  • You can learn more about Extended Security Updates (ESU) and end-of-support for Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 and SQL Server 2012 on microsoft.com.
  • If you want to learn how to use Extended Security Updates (ESU) for Windows Server, check out Microsoft Docs.

Conclusion

I hope this blog provides you with an overview of you option for the end-of-support for Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2012, and how you can leverage Azure and Azure Stack to get free Extended Security Updates (ESU). If you have any question, feel free to leave a comment below.