Microsoft is just days away from officially retiring their Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems. If your business is, for whatever reason, still using this software, you will need to upgrade by January 14 or face using unsupported software that could quickly become a security problem for your business. Let’s take a look at your options.
Option #1 – Purchase New Hardware and Migrate Your Data
The first option is the most expensive; and, since there isn’t a lot of time to make this move, it will cost even more to upgrade today than it would have months (or years) ago. The professional consultants at CTN Solutions can move fast to migrate your data over to new servers and workstations that run supported software, but since IT projects typically move slowly, waiting to the last minute is sure to have consequences. Your Windows Server 2008 R2 servers and your Windows 7 workstation will still work, but finding the right hardware, OS titles, and compatible software to keep your business from being hindered by the multitude of problems that running your business on unsupported software is bound to present, is critical.
To save some money if this is the route you are considering, some of your existing hardware may be able to run Windows 10. Here are the bare minimum specifications that are required to run Windows 10:
- 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
This is the absolute minimum so don’t expect Windows 10 to zip around if these are the specs on the workstation. We recommend at the very least some type of 2 GHz dual-core processor, 4-to-8 GB of RAM, and at least a 160 GB hard drive.
Option #2 – Virtualize
Another option your business has is to migrate your data over to the cloud. Today’s virtualized environments are often much more cost effective than the purchase of new hardware. You can host servers of all types. Today, organizations are using virtual machines in AWS and Microsoft Azure to deliver cost-effective solutions running Windows 10, as well as any other software the business depends on.
Some of the benefits of virtualization include an initial cost reduction as there are no large purchases to be made. You’ll likely need to purchase some low-end thin clients, since you won’t want your users remoting in on outdated workstations. Otherwise, all computing is billed monthly, so it becomes an operating expense instead of a major capital expense. What’s more, services like Azure typically come regularly maintained meaning that it provides a comparable or reduced price than investing in your own onsite hardware.
Option #3 – Microsoft 365
While Microsoft 365 won’t help your company’s Server 2008 R2 problem, it can be a great option if you are facing this deadline and need to upgrade, fast. Microsoft 365 provides Windows 10, Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite–with the all new Microsoft Teams, Outlook email, and OneDrive storage–and security and control tools to ensure that your organization has control over its data.
Microsoft 365 Business provides organizations with more control than other cloud-based systems, while still delivering the core software people need and use to get things done. Licenses are affordable and can be scaled quickly to meet your organizational needs. Additionally, this may be the fastest upgrade, provided that your existing hardware can handle it.
Both Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 were very useful pieces of Microsoft software, but without support, they need to go. If you are still using this software on any of your network-connected machines, it’s imperative that you upgrade today. Call us to talk through your options with one of our consultants at (610) 828- 5500.