Lots of people loved (and continue to love and use) Windows Server 2012/R2. This Windows Server release introduced several new and improved features that made it a cornerstone of business and service provider networks worldwide. Notable improvements in virtualization with Hyper-V, along with improvements in storage, networking, remote access and server administration features, made 2012/R2 a necessary upgrade from the 2003 and 2008 versions still present in many networks.
Sadly, even though Release 2 (R2) for Server 2012 was largely a new OS due to its features and capabilities, it did not receive a new lifecycle end date and instead inherited the end dates for 2012 version. And an extended lifecycle end-date doesn’t guarantee extended usefulness or compatibility.
Windows Server 2012 began with mainstream support on October 30, 2012 and that mainstream support ended in January 2018, including for R2. Extended support for 2012/R2 goes through January 2023, but that is only if you are paying for Software Assurance for your licenses.
During this period where extended support may still be available for the OS, there is no guarantee that it will remain as a supported platform for your application software. An example of this is the Microsoft Office 365 Apps suite formerly known as ProPlus. The Office 365 apps, which include Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and more, are staples of business users worldwide. These applications are no longer supported on Windows Server 2012/R2.
Microsoft 365 Apps ended support on Windows Server 2012/R2 on January 14, 2020.
Innovative features and functionality continues to be released for the Microsoft 365 Apps and Microsoft needs to know that the platforms running the applications will work properly with those innovations. As the software is improved and new capabilities introduced, stability and performance issues can plague the install when it is running on older or unsupported operating systems.
Microsoft has pointed out that any Microsoft 365 Apps updated to version 2005 or later will result with functionality and stability problems because there are changes that are specifically not compatible with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.
The pace of change is increasing no matter what industry you are in. With technology adoption rates rising faster than ever in all sectors, business owners cannot rely upon outdated systems if their operations are to remain competitive. Application software as well as the operating system platforms it runs on must be regularly updated in order to provide the reliable performance and useful functionality demanded by today’s business users.