Windows Server 2012 Support Lifecycle Extended
End-of-support pushed out to October 2023.
You're in no danger of running out of security patches for Windows Server 2012. Microsoft has released new information announcing that the venerable server has more than six years of support left.
Microsoft modified the end dates for both its "mainstream support" and "extended support" cycles for Windows Server 2012 (Microsoft's lifecycle support policy has two five-year phases for Windows products). The extended support date is a key one to note in Microsoft's policy because Microsoft will stop delivering security patches after that date, deeming the product to be "unsupported." A server then becomes a potential security risk for organizations if not upgraded or replaced.
The new end-of-extended support date for Windows Server 2012 is Oct. 10, 2023, according to Microsoft's newly updated product lifecycle page. The original date had been Jan. 10, 2023.
In essence, Microsoft seems to have extended the life of Windows Server 2012 by about nine months.
The policy change was announced at the Microsoft Lifecycle Policy portal in this article, which bears a date of March 14, 2017. The announcement suggested that the release date of Windows Server 2016 had required that the support lifecycle of Windows Server 2012 be extended.
It might not seem to make sense that a subsequently released product would affect the product lifecycle support of an earlier product, but it does, per Microsoft's support policy. This concept is summed up in the announcement's second paragraph:
The Lifecycle Policy for Windows Server 2012 states that Mainstream Support will be provided for five years, or for two years after the successor product (N+1, where N=product version) is released, whichever is longer. Microsoft will also provide Extended Support for the five years following Mainstream Support or for two years after the second successor product (N+2) is released, whichever is longer.
Update 3/20: In response to questions, Microsoft provided a clarification today on its end-of-life estimates for Windows Server 2012. Microsoft affirmed that its product lifecycle was extended by nine months:
Lifecycle for Windows Server 2012 was extended by 9 months due to a policy implemented to provide customers with 2 years of mainstream support, to migrate to the successor product.
The lifecycle announcement doesn't imply anything about its service pack release plans for Windows Server 2012: "This lifecycle policy extension is not related to whether or not Service Packs will be released for 2012."
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.