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Microsoft Licensing Update – July 2024

Microsoft Perpetual Licensing – Upcoming End of Support Dates

Microsoft has announced multiple end of extended support dates for perpetual licenses over the next two to three years. This wave of products coming to the end of support combined with some of the other changes to perpetual licenses that I will provide more information about below, indicate a trend of Microsoft trying to move customers away from the last few perpetual on premises licenses still offered.

Let’s review some of these dates and what your options are for ensuring your environment is secure and supported while still being cost effective if you have issues with moving on from some of these versions.

Product End of Extended Support
Windows Server 2012/R2 October 10, 2023
SQL Server 2014 July 8, 2024
Windows 10 October 14, 2025
Skype for Bus Server 2019 October 14, 2025
Exchange Server 2019 October 14, 2025
Office 2016 and 2019 October 14, 2025
SQL Server 2016 July 14, 2026
SharePoint Server 2016 and 2019 July 14, 2026
Project Server 2016 and 2019 July 14, 2026
Office 2021 October 13, 2026
Windows Server 2016 January 12, 2027
SQL Server 2017 October 12, 2027
Windows Server 2019 January 9, 2029

Some notes about what end of extended support means:

  • The Microsoft support teams will not touch any tickets or issues that involve a product that is out of support
  • Microsoft will not make any updates to the source code or issue updates for products that are out of mainstream support
  • These products are still usable, they are just more vulnerable to attacks
  • Continuing to use these licenses out of support dates could impact cyber security insurance coverage

For Windows Server and SQL Server, Microsoft has options for customers that need to keep running older versions of these servers. If you are tied to an older version due to a home-grown legacy application that is challenging to make changes to, perhaps modernizing your application is the best path forward. The options for protecting that server as-is is adding extended security updates to those servers. The final option to protect those servers on the older version is to migrate that server into Azure as these extended security updates are included for Azure virtual machines. I will provide more details on ESU licenses vs migrating the VMs into Azure in the next paragraphs, but please keep in mind that both our licensing and technical teams have extensive experience with these options and are here to help, please reach out to set up a conversation about your options.

Microsoft has been offering ESU licenses for Windows Server and SQL Server on a three-year time frame past the extended support dates. This program just offers security updates as they are released which can be sporadic. There are no feature updates available. The ESU can be purchased through enterprise agreements in a year up front or through Azure Arc on a monthly consumption basis. The ESU licenses should match the underlying licenses on the servers, which also must include software assurance. The costs of the ESU licenses can be high, and they increase in Years 2 and 3 for each license type. If you add ESU after the start of the offering for each server, the charges end up backdating from the start of the ESU timeframe for that server version. For example, if you realized now that you want ESU for Windows Server 2012 servers, you would have to pay for those servers starting on October 10, 2023. If that is through enabling Azure Arc on those on prem servers, that initial consumption bill could be steep. The Azure Arc cost model does allow for those servers to be dropped once they are upgraded so you would only pay for the timeframe that you need them to be enrolled, while on the EA the licenses are prepaid for a year at a time. Cost information about ESU through Azure Arc can be found here.

Azure virtual machines include the extended security updates so migrating these legacy servers to Azure would include the ESU for no additional charge outside the VM costs. The costs associated with moving to Azure would include the compute charges, bandwidth, and server licensing. If your existing licenses are covered by software assurance, then you can bring them with the servers into Azure. For estimates on what this would cost to migrate and run your servers in Azure as an alternative, reach out to the Invero team to set up a call.

There are some interesting things to note about the end of extended support for the end user applications and productivity servers listed above. These changes to some of their legacy licensing practices does indicate a trend of encouraging customers to move away from perpetual licenses and move any straggling users into the M365 cloud-based subscription model.

  • Microsoft has introduced a subscription license for SharePoint server on prem which is mandatory.
  • Office 2016 and 2019, SharePoint and Project servers 2016 and 2019 versions coming to end of life at the same time is a departure away from the traditional schedule that Microsoft has retired their products.
  • The 5-year mainstream support and 5-year extended model is no longer something that is offered, Office 2021 will only be in a supported model for 5 years total.
  • There have also been increasing compatibility issues and fewer supported install scenarios between on prem apps in 2016, 2019 or 2021 versions being installed on servers and on the same devices as other product versions.

If you are faced with challenges due to connectivity issues making M365 licenses not the right fit for your organization, issues with dependencies to legacy product versions or any other licensing questions, please contact the Invero licensing team, we’re here to help.