Users of Microsoft Windows Server 2012/ Windows Server 2012 R2 should be aware of the products upcoming end of life.
Microsoft will stop providing Client Access Licences for sale on March 31, 2017 though they will still be available from Ebuyer until the current stock is exhausted. Microsoft support for CALs will continue as normal.
December 31, 2017 is when Windows Server 2012/ Windows Server 2012 R2 will cease to be produced. Again, support will continue.
However, customers who use these products can choose to downgrade to an earlier version of the software.
Downgrading to an earlier version of Windows Server 2012/ Windows Server 2012 R2 allows licence holders to support their legacy applications until they are ready to migrate to the latest technology, in this case, Windows Server 2016.
Who can downgrade?
Those users with a Windows Server 2012/ Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard Licence are able to downgrade to an earlier version including Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard and Windows Server 2003 Standard.
Downgrade rights also apply to users with licences for Windows Server 2012 R2 Foundation and Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials.
How to downgrade
It is essential the correct product keys are used when installing the downgrade.
The downgrade can either be installed by the end user or the original equipment manufacturer. It should be noted the original product key must be used to activate the downgraded software.
However, in some cases it may not be possible to activate the software online. In these instances the installer will be prompted to call a Microsoft activation line and retrieve a product key from a customer service rep.
Which products are covered by the End of Life announcement?
The table below shows the CALs and Windows Server software affected by the announcement and the dates on which they become EOL.
More information on Microsoft downgrade rights can be found here.