BrandPost: Are your Microsoft products nearing end of life?

Make sure you’re prepared for the end of support

With all the buzz about end of support for Windows XP looming ever closer, now is a good time to take a closer look at Microsoft’s Mainstream and Extended Support. What does each type of support provide? Why is it important to you? And what are the upcoming dates that you should be aware of?

The Mainstream Support phase of any Microsoft product lasts about 5 years after General Availability (GA). In the case of more popular products like Windows XP, this phase extended beyond a 5-year period. Mainstream Support includes the following:

  • Online support
  • Security updates and hot fixes
  • Non-security updates and hot fixes
  • Service Pack updates

As for Extended Support, that phase—often referred to as “end of life”—of a product typically extends 5 years beyond the expiration of Mainstream Support. Extended Support includes the following:

  • Fee-based support (per support agreement or per incident)
  • Security updates and hot fixes
  • Non-security hot fixes (requires Extended Hot Fix Support agreement)

The basic difference between Mainstream and Extended Support is that Extended Support only provides security-related updates—no Service Packs or non-security updates. In either support phase, Microsoft will only provide support for the most recent Service Pack. With all of this in mind, let’s look at some upcoming support end dates:

  • Windows XP, Service Pack 3—Extended Support ends April 8, 2014
  • Windows 7, Service Pack 1—Mainstream Support ends January 13, 2015
  • Windows 8—Mainstream Support ends January 14, 2018
  • Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2—Mainstream Support ends January 15, 2015
  • Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2—Extended Support ends January 14, 2020
  • Windows Server 2003 and 2003 R2—Extended Support ends July 14, 2015
  • Office 2010, Visio 2010, Project 2010—Mainstream Support ends October 13, 2015
  • Office 2007, Visio 2007, Project 2007—Extended Support ends October 10, 2017
  • SharePoint Server 2010—Mainstream support ends October 13, 2015
  • Exchange Server 2007—Extended Support ends August 11, 2017
  • Exchange Server 2010—Mainstream Support ends January 13, 2015

Make sure you’re keeping these dates in mind as you plan your next deployments. The end of a support phase should not be your only criteria for making the decision to move, but it should play a role in your decision-making process. You need to assess your risk tolerance, particularly if you’re running an older version of a product that will no longer be receiving security patches. Of course, there are plenty of other factors to consider when evaluating your deployment roadmap. If you would like more information on GA dates, support end dates, release dates, or anything else pertaining to Microsoft’s projected software support schedule, we’re here to help.

Windows XP reaches final end-of-life on April 8, 2014. What this means for your organization is that Microsoft will stop providing Service Packs, security patches, and support after that date. It’s time to break up with XP; click here to start crafting your exit strategy.