Mainstream Support Ends For Windows Server 2019 – Should You Upgrade?

Mainstream Support Ends For Windows Server 2019 Should You UpgradeMainstream Support Ends For Windows Server 2019 Should You Upgrade

Key Points

  • Server 2019 reached the end of mainstream support on 9th January 2024 but will continue to receive extended security support until 9th January 2029.
  • You can upgrade to Server 2022 but will need to consider the licensing costs, the upgrade process, and only 2.5 years of mainstream support, as opposed to better features, enhanced functionality, and other improvements.

Windows Server 2019 has reached the end of its mainstream support on 9th January 2024. This was anticipated since Microsoft announces the end of support for all of its operating systems, and you can also find the corresponding information on our Windows Server lifecycle page.

Microsoft releases a newer version of Windows Server every 2 to 3 years. It then provides mainstream support for 5 years, after which the version enters the “Extended Support” phase, where it only receives critical security updates. Windows Server 2019 has reached the end of mainstream support, meaning that it will no longer receive bug fixes or design changes.

That said, Server 2019 will now receive extended support from Microsoft which is also bound to end on 9th January 2029.

What does it mean for Server 2019 users?

If you or your organization is using Windows Server 2019, know that it will no longer receive support for the following items from Microsoft:

  1. No more free incident support.
  2. No more warranty claims.
  3. No more design changes and feature requests.
  4. No more non-security hotfixes.

This means that if there still exists a bug in Server 2019, you are going to have to deal with it yourself or upgrade to a server version that is still supported by Microsoft. However, if there is a critical security vulnerability, Microsoft will patch it up, free of cost, through Windows Update and WSUS for the next 5 years, while Server 2019 is still in Extended Security support.

As mentioned earlier, Server 2019 will reach the end of all support types in January 2029. That would mean the following:

  1. No more security updates
  2. No more paid support
  3. No more updated content (Knowledgebase etc.)

Until that time comes, know that your Server environment will be protected from attackers and other online threats, but will no longer receive feature updates and bug fixes.

Should you upgrade to Windows Server 2022?

At the moment, Windows Server 2022 is the only server version available after 2019, and also the only version still receiving mainstream support. Since Server 2019 will now only receive security updates, do you think you or your organization should upgrade to Server 2022?

There are a bunch of factors and considerations to make before you make that decision. On the one hand, Server 2022 offers better security, improved hybrid Azure integration, streamlined IT management, convenient remote working capabilities, better flexibility and scalability, and much more. On the other, you also need to consider the upgrade licensing costs, degradation process and downtown, and other associated factors.

In the end, it all comes down to your IT experts and their plan for the upgrade process (which should be an in-place upgrade after taking a full backup, plus the budgeting for the IT upgrades. If your company can afford it, then you may want to opt for that Server 2022 update.

My two cents

There are rumors of Microsoft developing Windows Server 2025 (released in 2024) alongside Windows 12. Therefore, I think that you should wait at least a year before updating.

The justification for this statement is that Microsoft will likely announce a new Server version soon since it will be 3 years from its previous major release. If you upgrade to Server 2022 now, you will be paying additional for the licensing, going through the headache of the upgrade, and only receiving mainstream support for another 2.5 years (approx.).

Additionally, Server 2019 is stable enough to not see any major bugs, and as long as it is secure with future security patches, it should be good enough to continue for another year or even more.

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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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