Microsoft offers extended support for Windows, SQL 2008: but with a catch

Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, as well as SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2, are due to move out of extended support over the next few years; SQL Server in July 2019, and Windows Server in January 2020. For organizations still using that software, this offers a few options: keep using the software and accept that it won’t receive any more security updates, migrate to newer equivalents that are still supported, or pay Microsoft for a custom support contract to continue to receive security updates beyond the cutoff dates.

Today, Microsoft added a fourth option: migrate to Azure. Microsoft is extending the support window by three years (until July 2022 for SQL Server, January 2023 for Windows Server) for workloads hosted on Azure in the cloud. This extended support means that customers that make the switch to the cloud will receive another three years of security fixes. After those three years are up, customers will be back to the original set of choices: be insecure, upgrade, or pay for a custom support contract.

Microsoft isn’t requiring customers to demonstrate that they have any kind of migration plan in place, and this support scheme incurs no additional costs beyond those already imposed by running software on Azure in the first place.

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Microsoft Ignite: Skype for Business merging into Teams

Microsoft’s Ignite business and IT conference started today in Orlando, and, as we’ve come to expect, the big emphasis was on the continued evolution of Microsoft’s cloud, machine learning, and software-as-a-service offerings.

The company is shaking up its communications offerings for Office 365 users, as it continues to try to figure out how to make the best use of its various assets. Those with long memories will remember that Microsoft had Messenger (or Windows Messenger, or MSN Messenger) for its mass-market consumer messaging platform, with instant messaging, Internet-based voice and video chat, and Office Communications Server—later renamed Lync—for its enterprise messaging platform. It offered a similar set of capabilities to Messenger but over private servers, with greater administrative controls. It also offered connectivity to the regular phone network.

Microsoft then bought Skype. On the consumer side, it folded the Messenger and Skype networks together and then ditched the Messenger branding, unifying under the Skype name. On the corporate side, Lync was renamed (again) to Skype for Business. Skype for Business picked up the ability to bridge to the Skype network. Microsoft also rebuilt the Skype communications infrastructure, moving away from Skype’s old peer-to-peer system to a more conventional client/server system, with the company arguing that this made better sense for enabling features such as synchronized message history across devices, and the abundance of occasionally connected devices like smartphones.

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Microsoft Ignite: SQL Server 2017 for Linux goes live; or Windows, if you want

SQL Server 2017 went into general availability today. Today’s release is a remarkable step in SQL Server’s history, because it’s not just a release for Windows. Today marks the general availability of SQL Server 2017 for Linux. There’s also a containerized version for deployment using Docker.

SQL Server for Linux was announced in March of last year to widespread surprise. SQL Server is the kind of software that shifts Windows licenses—people buy Windows Server for the express purpose of running SQL Server—so porting it to Linux would risk forfeiting its corresponding Windows Server revenue.

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president for cloud and enterprise, acknowledged that risk but felt that it was offset by the opportunity SQL Server for Linux presented. SQL Server has a rich feature set, and potential customers were telling Microsoft that they’d love to use it—but they were Linux shops or were dependent on Docker and containerization. As such, being Windows-only prevented sales to these customers.

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How Microsoft brought SQL Server to Linux

 Back in 2016, when Microsoft announced that SQL Server would soon run on Linux, the news came as a major surprise to users and pundits alike. Over the course of the last year, Microsoft’s support for Linux (and open source in general), has come into clearer focus and the company’s mission now seems to be all about bringing its tools to wherever its users are.
The company today… Read More

Google Cloud takes aim at Microsoft customers with new Windows VMs

disrupt_sf16_diane_greene-3758 Google announced several new products today aimed at luring IT pros who are using Windows in their data centers to the Google Cloud Platform. With that in mind, Google introduced support for Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise and Windows Server Core on the Cloud Platform. In addition, the company announced support for SQL Server Always-On Availability Group for customers who are concerned about… Read More

How an old Drawbridge helped Microsoft bring SQL Server to Linux

When in March this year Microsoft announced that it was bringing SQL Server to Linux the reaction was one of surprise, with the announcement prompting two big questions: why and how?

SQL Server is one of Microsoft’s major Windows applications, helping to drive Windows sales and keep people on the Windows platform. If you can run SQL Server on Linux, well, that’s one less reason to use Windows.

And while SQL Server does share heritage with Sybase SQL Server (now called SAP ASE), a Unix database server that Microsoft ported to Windows, that happened a long time ago. Since 1993, when Sybase and Microsoft went their separate ways, the products have diverged and, for the last 23 years, Microsoft SQL Server has been strictly a Windows application. That doesn’t normally make for easy porting.

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Microsoft announces the next version SQL Server for Windows and Linux

2016-11-15_1540 Microsoft’s announcement that it was bringing its flagship SQL Server database software to Linux came as a major surprise when the company first announced this in March. Until now, the preview was invite-only, but as Microsoft announced today, anybody who wants to give it a try can now download the bits. That public preview is part of the launch of the next version of SQL Server, which… Read More