Microsoft has been beating the drum about the end of SQL Server 2005 for a while, and now the date is nearly here: April 12. The deadline for the end of extended support has large implications for many organizations.
After April 12, those running SQL Server 2005 database software will no longer get security updates and patches. Additionally, the system won’t be covered under the per-incident paid support program Microsoft offers during extended support. Many organizations still rely on SQL Server 2005, but running it beyond its end-of-support date is risky.
“We sent out an email about 18 months ago to all the agencies and have monthly IT management meetings and weekly technical management meetings, so everyone is very well informed about the migration,” said Lynne Pizzini, deputy CIO and chief information security officer for the state of Montana in a StateTech article. “We’ve been working closely with the agencies to determine which version of SQL Server would be best for them to deploy. It really depends on how well a certain version supports an agency’s business apps.”
The Scope of the Issue
How big of an issue is the end-of-support deadline? Research firm IDC estimates that around 800,000 servers globally are still running Microsoft SQL Server 2005.
Upgrading to newer versions of SQL Server can be daunting, but IT departments can either handle the migration themselves or work with an outside database services provider.
Microsoft says the benefits of upgrading to SQL Server 2014, Azure SQL Database, or a combination, are well worth the expense and challenges of migration. In addition to increased security protections, Microsoft says it has introduced enhancements to performance, availability, scalability, security and manageability through features like Always On in SQL Server 2012 and In-Memory OLTP in SQL Server 2014.
SQL Server 2014 is the most up-to-date commercial version of the software. However, Microsoft plans to release SQL Server 2016 later this year (with a preview version available now).
Making Strides Toward Upgrading
Numerous companies and organizations have already migrated to newer versions of SQL Server. For example, the Michigan Department of Technology Management and Budget began upgrading from SQL Server 2005 about a year ago, says Kirt Berwald, a general manager with the department in a StateTech article. His staff will complete the migration to SQL Server 2010 and SQL Server 2012 ahead of the April deadline.
Denys De Castilhos, an operations/quality assurance manager who works with Berwald in Michigan, said agencies should prioritize Microsoft SQL Server 2005 migration because there are plenty of benefits that they're missing out on if they don't.
“Before 2008, administrators would have to write code to run audits. Today, we can find out automatically what we need to audit,” said Castilhos. “So while security and compliance are important, migrating off SQL Server 2005 also makes our jobs easier by letting us work more efficiently and faster.”
A Checklist for SQL Migration
Some organizations will move to SQL Server 2014, while others will wait for 2016. Embracing the 2014 version will let them upgrade immediately, whereas waiting for the 2016 version will push any future upgrades further out. The increased longevity of the newest version could outweigh the trouble of implementing stopgap measures until its release.
What if an organization wants to make the jump and move to SQL Server 2014? It can migrate to a physical version of SQL Server 2014 or move to that server in a virtual environment (on premises, with a third-party provider or in Microsoft’s Azure cloud). Another option is Microsoft Azure SQL Database.
For more on the SQL Sever 2005 end-of support-deadline and what it means for your organization, check out our coverage here.