5 options for Ubuntu 18.04 EOL

Ubuntu 18.04 goes end of life in April 2023. Our usual EOL blog posts tend to be quite short and sharp, making sure that people are aware of software becoming insecure. When an operating system goes EOL there is usually a lot more to think about.

Here we look at your 5 options for Ubuntu 18.04 EOL.

  1. Do nothing (Not recommended)
  2. Build new infrastructure and move to the latest Ubuntu LTS release (Recommended)
  3. Perform an in-place upgrade
  4. Buy an annual subscription to Ubuntu Extended Security Maintenance (ESM)
  5. Just shut it down

Lets explore the pros and cons of each option.

1) Do Nothing (Not Recommended) Options for Ubuntu 18.04 EOL

By far the easiest of the options but could end up costing you more in the long run.  Dogsbody do not recommend this option.

Doing nothing mean you have a ticking time bomb on your infrastructure. Your 18.04 Infrastructure will no longer receive security updates for the Ubuntu base OS, critical software packages and infrastructure components as well as no security maintenance for high and critical CVEs. This will probably also cause Compliance issues (PCI), Software incompatibility and make your whole network more vulnerable.

Using this option will also mean that more work will be required when you upgrade your server in the future costing you more.

2) Build new infrastructure and move to the latest Ubuntu LTS release (Recommended)

Options for Ubuntu 18.04 EOLDogsbody always recommend this options as a clean and safe way to upgrade. It allows you to upgrade your hardware to the latest tech. (Suppliers may allow you a free cut over period to manage costs).

This options lets everyone involved test things fully without affecting production infrastructure .

Obviously the disadvantage is this is it is one of the more expensive options, not just because of the work involved but as you may have to pay for two set of hardware and support etc until you migrate from your old to your new infrastructure. Dogsbody offer a one month cross over period for all our maintenance customers 🙂 Also if you have multiple sites on the server (shared hosting) you need to update all sites to the new IP.

Ubuntu 22.04 LTS became available in April 2022 and is supported for 5 years with the end of their standard support in April 2027.

We recommend waiting for the .1 release especially for production machines. We expect this to be released in August 2022 giving you 9 months to make the switch.

3) Perform an in-place upgrade

This may only be an option for certain infrastructure types. It can be cheaper than option 2 (and quicker) but only if it upgrades perfectly. This option gives you zero testing time which means there is a risk that this will not work and your infrastructure will be off line whilst you or your support services fix it live.

While in-place upgrades will result with you having a new operating system, you will likely inherit the (less secure) defaults from the old operating system. e.g. Networking in Ubuntu 14.04 is typically configured via the /etc/network/interfaces file.  Networking in Ubuntu 16.04 is typically configured via the netplan configuration files. An in-place upgrade from 16.04 to 18.04 would leave the old interfaces configuration in place which may work or may not depending on the setup you have.

We would certainly never recommend more than one in-place upgrade. Taking a single system from Ubuntu 14.04 -> 16.04 -> 18.04 and now 20.04 is a bad idea as it just leaves too many loose threads.

It also means your hardware will not be upgraded keeping you potentially on old, less efficient  hardware that may also cause you issues at a later date.

4) Buy an annual subscription to Ubuntu Extended Security Maintenance (ESM)

Extended Security MaintenanceUbuntu Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) is an annual subscription from Canonical. It provides Security updates for the Ubuntu base OS, critical software packages and infrastructure components as well as security maintenance for high and critical CVEs for Ubuntu LTS for an additional 5 years (April 2028).

There is a possibility that other software and packages will drop their support for Ubuntu 18.04 so you may cause yourselves problems down the line if you plan to leave it the full 5 years.

This used to be quite a costly options however prices have dropped since the last LTS EOL. Prices for ESM at the time of writing can be seen here

Essential Standard Advanced
What’s included
Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) Yes Yes Yes
Kernel Livepatch service to avoid reboots Yes Yes Yes
FIPS 140-2 Level 1 certified crypto modules Yes Yes Yes
Common Criteria EAL2 Yes Yes Yes
Certified Windows drivers for KVM guests Yes Yes Yes
Landscape On-Prem management dashboard Yes Yes Yes
Landscape SaaS management dashboard Yes Yes Yes
Phone and ticket support 24/5 24/7
OpenStack Security updates Updates + support Updates + support
Kubernetes Security updates Updates + support Updates + support
KVM/LXD Security updates Updates + support Updates + support
MAAS Security updates Updates + support Updates + support
Price per year
Physical server $225 $750 $1,500
Virtual server $75 $250 $500
Desktop $25 $150 $300

5) Just shut it downOptions for Ubuntu 18.04 EOL

It’s good to take stock of your infrastructure sometimes, especially internal/pet projects that may have been left to languish.

Do you actually still need this infrastructure? Has it been replaced by something better? If so then you can always just shut it down.

 

About Ubuntu 22.04

Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release is supported for 5 years with the end of their standard support in April 2027.

Upgrading from Ubuntu 18.04 to Ubuntu 22.04 should, instantly, speed up your sites/infrastructure if you get it right.

It’s worth considering package changes between operating system versions. Some of the most common are…

  • Apache 2.4.29 -> Apache 2.4.52
  • MySQL 5.7 -> MySQL 8.0
  • PHP  7.2 -> PHP 8.1.2 (default)

More info in the Jammy Jellyfish Release Notes.

Dogsbody have a lot of customers who run Ubuntu 18.04 who we will be advising and helping move to the best option for their business. If you need help on deciding the best route for your upgrade please do contact us.

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