Founder and CEO Mat Clothier shares his take on ESUs and says enterprises need to act sooner rather than later
Companies running Microsoft operating systems that have reached end of life or are approaching end of life should be prepared to pay substantial costs.
Windows Server 2008 reached end of life in January 2020 and the costs for Extended Security Updates (ESUs) are going up 75% year on year. Windows Server 2012 will reach end of life in October 2023 and ESUs for this operating system will go up 75% in year one, 100% in year two and 125% in year three. If you’re still using ESUs for this system in 2026, you will have paid four times the cost of the operating system.
A huge number of enterprises still run on legacy systems. It’s not that they are resistant to change, it’s because it is too complex. This places these enterprises in a Catch 22 situation. They are dicing with increasing security risks through leaving their systems unpatched with known security issues. It’s the equivalent of leaving your back door open and wondering why you’ve been burgled. But the complexity of updating to a modern operating system is preventing them from mitigating those threats.
While the rising ESU costs can be a bitter pill to swallow, pushing up those costs is understandable from Microsoft’s perspective. It’s not that they want to capitalise on enterprises using outdated systems – the rising costs are supposed to encourage enterprises to update to current systems. There is only so long Microsoft can continue supporting aging software. Its support teams need to be moved on to supporting new software. What’s more, customers still using legacy systems aren’t benefiting from the latest innovations Microsoft has painstakingly developed for its new systems.
ESUs for outdated systems do come with an expiry date. Another option Microsoft has put on the table is offering ESUs on the condition that the customer agrees to migrate to its Azure cloud platform. However, by their nature, many of these legacy systems are not always compatible with the cloud environment.
Are ESUs worth it?
A common misconception is that ESUs includes support, but this is not the case. Microsoft will issue updates to fix security issues but they aren’t providing support, so if and when something goes wrong, customers paying for the ESU are on their own. They effectively end up paying substantial amounts of money for nothing more than the security updates.
Another problem with ESUs is that security updates are often issued after a vulnerability has been discovered, by which point the customer may have already become compromised through the vulnerability. Ultimately, this makes paying for ESUs an expensive way to kick the can down the road.
What other options are there?
At Cloudhouse we have over a decade’s worth of experience helping enterprises get around end of life issues and end their reliance on ESUs. We offer two services that remove end of life headaches entirely.
Our application compatibility packaging service called Alchemy effectively transplants applications from outdated platforms and places them into the latest Microsoft and Citrix platforms. Alchemy abstracts applications from the underlying platform instead of providing packaging as a means of application-to-application isolation or deployment like application virtualisation or layering solutions. Alchemy then isolates each application’s run time and optimises them for 64-bit desktop, server operating systems, Microsoft Office plug-ins and Internet Explorer 11.
Cloudhouse Guardian is a service designed to identify what enterprises have in their IT estates that is non-compliant or out of date and helps them achieve compliance through best practice configuration. We have implemented Cloudhouse Guardian for over 50 major global enterprises including NYSE, NASA and Rackspace.
The universal feedback we get is ‘I wish we knew about Cloudhouse sooner’. If you’re reading this blog, the chances are you’re already aware of us and how our services work. Our solutions are ready and waiting to end costly reliance on ESUs and get your enterprise critical applications running on safe, up to date operating systems. To find out more about our easy-to-implement solution to removing compatibility issues, and explore our money back guarantee offering, read this whitepaper: https://cloudhouse.com/esu-jan-2022/