Microsoft 2013 Branded Servers To Reach End of Support Next Year

Microsoft will be ending support for its 2013-branded server products in about nine months, with the typical end date planned for April 11, 2023.

Software products that are out of support don't get security fixes, and Microsoft also stops providing technical support. Last week, Microsoft signaled that Exchange Server 2013 will be one of those products that will lose support on that April date.

Organizations using Exchange Server 2013 should already be starting their migrations to "Exchange Online or Exchange Server 2019," the announcement advised. It also suggested using the Microsoft FastTrack program, which gives organizations access to a support engineer that can "walk you through from planning and design to migrating your last mailbox."

FastTrack Help
The FastTrack program is free if an organization meets its eligibility requirements, which includes having a certain number of licenses in place, according to an FAQ:

FastTrack assistance is available for customer tenants with 150 or more licenses from one of the eligible plans from the following Microsoft product families: Microsoft 365, Office 365, Microsoft Viva, Enterprise Mobility & Security, and Windows 10/11.

FastTrack's licensing requirements are plan specific, too. It often means having E3/E5 licensing, but specific details are listed in Microsoft's FAQ.

More 2013 Servers Losing Support in April
Other 2013-branded Office server products will be falling out of support on April 11, 2023.

They include SharePoint Server 2013, Project Server 2013, Office Web Apps Server 2013 and Lync Server 2013, per a Microsoft document. For those users, Microsoft recommended moving to Microsoft 365 services.

The document notably said nothing about Lync Server 2013 users moving to Skype for Business Server Subscription Edition. The Subscription Edition runs on a customer's infrastructure but organizations pay Microsoft regular subscription fees to use it. Microsoft has already released Subscription Editions of SharePoint Server and Project Server, but there have been no updates on the status of Skype for Business Server Subscription Edition, which is expected to arrive this year. On the Exchange side, its Subscription Edition was delayed to a 2025 release.

Microsoft included a note of finality for these 2013-branded Office server users, per the document:

There will not be an option to extend support for any of the products listed in this article beyond April 2023.

Additionally, users of Office 2013 clients that connect to Microsoft 365 services "may experience performance or reliability issues" after the April 2023 deadline. Organizations should shift to using the Microsoft 365 Apps service, Microsoft indicated in this document.

Skype for Business Online Ended Last Year
Nothing changed with regard to Microsoft plans to end its Skype for Business Online service. It ended on July 31, 2021.

Lots of affiliated services that worked with the Skype for Business Online service won't be supported as well after that July deadline, as enumerated in this document.

Microsoft wanted organizations using Skype for Business Online to move to the Microsoft Teams service or the Skype for Business Server product. The migration advice to get there is quite complex, though.

SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012
SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 are nearing their end-of-support phases. The timing is a bit different than the descriptions above.

SQL Server 2012 will reach its end of support on July 12, 2022, according to this document. Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 both will reach their end-of-support phases on Oct. 10, 2023.

Microsoft wants these customers to run their SQL Server and Windows Server workloads using Azure "cloud" infrastructure, but there also are options to "upgrade to Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2022, or SQL Server 2019."

Microsoft is going to offer its Extended Security Updates (ESU) program to SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 users. The ESU program is run like an insurance program, with annual costs that go up each year, for a total of three years of support at maximum. During the ESU period, Microsoft just provides security fixes for the products.

This ESU program requires having "Software Assurance under an Enterprise Agreement," Microsoft indicated.

Organizations using the ESU program to support Microsoft's older servers, namely SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008, are facing sharp deadlines, with support ending next month and next year, respectively. These organizations will get a one-year reprieve, though, if they host their workloads on Azure, the document indicated:

SQL Server 2008/R2 and Windows Server 2008/R2 Extended Security Updates (ESUs) will end support on July 12, 2022, and January 10, 2023, respectively. Customers who require additional time to upgrade may rehost their servers on Azure to receive one additional year of free ESUs.

Goodbye Windows Server Semiannual Channel
There's no reprieve for organizations using the Windows Server Semiannual Channel product, which will be ending altogether on Aug. 9, 2022.

Windows Server Semiannual Channel's product end was grimly described in this document as follows:

Windows Server, version 20H2 will reach the end of servicing on August 9, 2022. This will also be the retirement of Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel (SAC). There will be no future SAC releases of Windows Server, and this product will no longer receive security updates after August 9, 2022.

Microsoft's subscription- based Windows Server products are shifting to a long-term servicing channel model, with feature updates arriving every two to three years, as explained by Microsoft last year.

Big Data Clusters Ending in SQL Server 2019
Microsoft is killing off a once-prominent feature in SQL Server 2019, Big Data Clusters, on Feb. 28, 2025, per this document.

Microsoft later described Big Data Clusters as an "add-on" to SQL Server 2019. It was supposed to ease the deployment and management of scalable clusters. Organizations should shift to SQL Server 2022 or Azure SQL services instead, Microsoft has suggested.

Microsoft's rationale for ending Big Data Clusters is that organizations can leverage Azure services for their advanced analytics, according to this February announcement. That announcement also noted that PolyBase isn't being continued in the SQL Server 2022 product.

Other End-of-Support Milestones
Microsoft keeps a running list of products approaching their end-of-support milestones at this "Lifecycle Announcements" page.

For any other product lifecycle product details, Microsoft recommends a product search.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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