In a 2017 survey, Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) members reported that SQL Server 2008 R2 or older accounted for more than 50 percent of production instances. SQL Server 2005 reached end of support on April 12, 2016, and SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will reach end of support on July 9, 2019. Organizations must act quickly to avoid operating without security updates and software fixes.
Organizations that are still using SQL Server versions beyond the end of support are at risk of having valuable data exposed to security vulnerabilities. They also risk having their operations affected by a product defect for which Microsoft will not provide a hotfix. Because of Microsoft’s diligence in notifying customers of key end-of-support dates, shifting the responsibility to the vendor is difficult. Further, the consequences of data breaches are becoming more significant as highly publicized cases have increased regulatory and legal scrutiny regarding what actions were taken to prevent the unauthorized access. Depending on the type of data breach, regulations might require notification to customers, which can affect an organization’s brand and result in significant loss of business.
Most of the out-of-support SQL Server instances still in service have not had any hardware upgrades for years. The legacy servers and storage that these database instances use present many challenges. Replacing failed hardware components might require lengthy lead times to order the required parts. Database upgrades could take longer on legacy hardware systems due to a lack of available memory, CPU, or storage resources. Further, organizations might not be able to justify the upgrade disruption and cost of new licenses if performance does not improve significantly. To avoid these risks, IT organizations should plan on full hardware and software upgrades during replatforming of their older SQL Server databases.
A new database platform including the latest generation of servers and storage represents a significant investment for any organization. A common customer question is, “Do these legacy databases and their infrastructure justify the investment?” To answer that question, business leaders should look at multiple interrelated factors that can be complex. Often these evaluations can lead to consideration of public cloud offerings that involve a different set of complexities and business concerns. Alternatively, organizations can easily implement this cost-optimized Ready Solution to obtain the performance, resiliency, and elasticity that they need for their new database platform.