Today, January 12th 2022, the Mainstream Support on Windows Server 2016 ended. This Windows Server Operating System (OS) has been with us for the past five years and will remain with us for the next five years, just not as it used to. Therefore, today is a time to make an important decision.
The most value
Any IT system, service and implementation offers the most value when its technical lifetime exceeds the deprecation period; it’s economic lifetime.
Organizations, from a finances point of view don’t book the purchase of new systems, new licenses or IT implementations at the time of purchase. From a financial point of view each system and license (at least in Europe) and its corresponding implementation has remaining value after a year, after two years, after three years and in some cases after four years. That’s why most IT implementation have a deprecation period of four years.
This jigsaw way of booking costs to the organization leads to an almost steady line of expenses in large organization, but can still be seen at smaller organizations. The situation at larger organizations leads to IT that seems ‘free’ when it is in use beyond its deprecation period.
“There’s nothing as cost-effective as a 17-year old Novell Netware server.”
– Sander Berkouwer
However, when IT suddenly comes knocking to replace systems like hypervisor platforms, storage and licenses, this might be considered intrusive, obnoxious and even downright cheeky. Ironically, it’s the way that management look at IT that is cheeky.
All of this leads to the use of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 installations, today. These systems were installed with a distorted perspective on the economic lifetime. Either, these systems were installed with Windows Server 2008 R2 when it was already 2018, or these systems are used beyond the ‘normal’ server deprecation period of five years.
Stop deploying Windows Server 2016 today
Windows Server 2016 is in mainstream support starting today. Not only does this mean that this particular Windows Server only gets security updates going forward, it also means that all support ends in five years. To be exact: support ends on January 12, 2027.
This seems like a mighty long time away, but it isn’t. At least, it’s not from a deprecation period point of view: Every new Windows Server 2016 installation that you perform from today onward will not be able to offer the most value to the organization.
To be clear: Every new Windows Server 2016 installation from now on leads to the same pile as that we’re currently still trying to clean up in terms of Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2.
The only way to break this cycle is to stop deploying Windows Server 2016 today.
But what if…
… We can skip two Windows Server versions doing it our way
At many organizations, IT managers believe that they can skip two Windows Server versions in their migration strategies. Therefore, they only have to buy Windows licenses every nine to ten years, right?
Don’t kid yourselves. Today, these organizations aren’t migrating from Windows Server 2012 (R2) to Windows Server 2022. Nah, “it is too new”. Also, they won’t be able to migrate all their systems. Not even all their servers are running Windows Server 2012 (R2). In the past ten years, several applications have probably already raised the need for interim Windows Server versions.
… Our applications need deprecated Windows Server versions
Sure, I’ve encountered some multi-million-dollar lab equipment that still only works with Windows XP and mainframe systems that still require SMBv1. I feel your pain. But also, I’ve been constructively dealing with these situations. All these systems have been isolated into their own networking environments, some with their own dedicated Active Directory implementations. When the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs, this is a way to tackle that. Ironically, costs really add up over time to isolate these systems the right way. Starting isolation today is way easier than starting in four years time.
… management doesn’t approve of our migration plans
“If management still sees IT as a cost of doing business, your business will ultimately fail.”
– Sander Berkouwer
This is the hill I’m prepared to die on. There is no such thing as ‘free’ IT. Successful organizations spend up to 4% of their revenue. Studies show that the more an organization spends, the higher its success. If your organization faces a temporary cashflow challenge, then I feel that’s the only reason not to embark on sensible IT journeys. However, I would GTFO, as I like some guarantees for my wages to be paid.