Where do we go from here?
Microsoft ended the Extended Support for SQL Server 2005 on April 12, 2016. For SQL Server 2008, Mainstream Support ended on July 8, 2014, and Extended Support will run out in short order. So what does that mean for IT shops that still have their critical SQL Server databases running on SQL Server 2005? Well, just imagine flying in an airplane that has no more warranty and no more tech support. Microsoft won’t provide any new security updates. That’s a very scary proposition in current times—as not a week goes by without hearing about some big company getting hacked and losing precious customer data like Social Security numbers or credit card information. If a new bug is exposed that causes your SQL Server to come crashing down, Microsoft won’t spin up a new hot-fix. And for SQL Server 2008? Well, you’re probably okay for now. But to avoid the 11th Hour urgency, you’ll have to start thinking of the road ahead to an upgrade.
Now, how many shops are in this SQL Server 2005/2008 EOL predicament? I found this great analysis on Spotlight Website that shows that currently, out of nearly 32,000 SQL Server instances, nearly 65% of them are still on SQL Server 2005, 2008, and/or 2008 R2. That is a pretty large population taking a risk.
Under these circumstances, one should (and must!) upgrade. But it’s worth it to think about how you can do the upgrade without increasing your budgets significantly. In several cases, going from SQL Server 2005/2008 to SQL Server 2012/2014/2016 will transition from a CPU-based licensing model to a core-based licensing model. And that can be a drag on CAPEX. (A while back, I wrote about this in How to Choose Between SQL Server Standard vs. Enterprise. This blog talks about how one can extract a lot of value from Tegile’s flash storage solutions and get the job done at lower price points.)
Besides just the licensing fees, I recommend you look at all your options—from your SQL Server version to your underlying hardware infrastructure. This free ebook on Modern Storage Strategies for SQL Server, written by SQL Server MVP David Klee and VMware vExpert James Green, gives you a head start on planning your upgrade journey.