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Windows Server 2012 is welcome on Google Cloud, even after End of Support

Windows Server 2012 reached End of Support (“EOS”) on October 10, 2023. This means that Microsoft will no longer provide security updates, patches, or technical support for this operating system version. For those of you purchasing Extended Security Updates (ESUs) from Microsoft to continue to receive critical security updates, you can applythem to your VMs running in Google Cloud. Furthermore, we are committed to ensuring that Windows Server 2012 and R2 continues to work well beyond the EOS date in Google Cloud. In this blog post, we discuss your options for running a Windows Server 2012 instance on Google Cloud, even though it has reached EOS.

Upgrade to Windows Server 2016 or later

Whenever an operating system reaches EOS, your first and best option is to upgrade to a supported version of the OS. At Google Cloud, we have a range of options to help you do this quickly and easily. But even if upgrading isn’t an immediate option for you, you can rest assured that Windows 2012 will continue to work beyond the EOS date on all machine types where its supported today (E2, N1, N2, N2D, T2D, C2, C2D, M1, and M2).

If you’re running Windows Server 2012 today on Google Cloud, there are two ways you can easily upgrade to Windows Server 2016 or later:

Create new VM instances using Windows Server 2016 or later and migrate your applications from existing VMs.If you don’t want a fresh new install, perform an in-place upgrade for your Windows Server 2012 instances by following the upgrade documentation.

Some older applications might not be compatible with newer versions of Windows. In such cases, partner solutions such as CloudHouse can be a great option for enabling an upgrade path for otherwise incompatible applications. Also, you may want to consider modernization options. For example, if you’re running SQL Server on Windows Server, you can move to a fully managed service (Cloud SQL), or if you are running .Net apps on Windows, you can modernize them to .Net core and run in Linux containers.

On-premises Windows Server 2012 workloads also welcome

If you have Windows Server 2012 workloads running on-premises, now is an opportune time to move them to Google Cloud. You can easily migrate your Windows Server 2012 VMs using our Migrate2VM or Image import tooling. For licensing, you can either bring your own license (BYOL) (if you have BYOL-eligible licenses) or use Google-provided licenses on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Securing your Windows Server 2012 workloads

While upgrading your Windows Server 2012 is your best bet to getting security updates for your OS, you can purchase ESUs to get critical security patches and use them on your Windows Server 2012 instances in Google Cloud. Simply purchase them from Microsoft and apply them to your VMs running in Google Cloud.

In addition to using ESUs, we also recommend a number of ways to secure your Windows Server 2012 environments, such as isolating them using Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), assigning an internal (not publicly routed) IP address, following best practices on limiting user access, and using services like VM Manager to providing patching for critical vulnerabilities.

Finally, if commercial incentives for ESUs are tempting you to choose a different cloud provider, don’t count us out — we might be able to help you both technically and commercially. Please reach out to us at [email protected] or engage with your Google account team to learn more.

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