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How to Manage Microsoft SQL End-of-Life

Sales of Microsoft SQL 2008 ended in 2014, but at the time, people could choose to purchase extended support. However, this extended support ended in July 2019. This is referred to as the Microsoft SQL 2008 end-of-life, or EoL.

SQL 2008 EOL, in this case, means that companies that are still running processes and applications on SQL 2008 will no longer receive software updates or security patches. Any data, applications or workloads that continue to run on SQL 2008 will be at serious risk of security breach, critical system malfunction, and regulatory compliance failure.

In the face of these potential serious issues, companies that purchased extended support now face an important decision: what to do next? There are several options to choose from, including keeping the status quo, transitioning to the cloud, transitioning to updated software on-premise, or transitioning to updated software in the cloud.

1. Upgrade to SQL 2017 on AWS.

The benefits that are available in upgrading to SQL 2017 can be improved exponentially by adopting cloud technology as well. Transitioning from SQL 2008 to 2017 requires a full migration of data, applications, workloads and processes – much like migrating to the cloud. If a full migration must be completed anyway, and you’ve been considering cloud adoption, combining the two may be easier than completing two completely separate migration projects.

2. Remain as-is.

Companies that choose to keep workflows on SQL 2008 can manage these risks on their own, using internal resources or purchasing an extra three years of support from Microsoft. While this does mean that a major change isn’t necessary now, it merely delays the inevitable transition, channeling resources to sustain a legacy system.

3. Upgrade to SQL 2017 on-premise.

Technology has advanced dramatically since SQL 2008 was released, so upgrading to SQL 2017 now offers more than continued security updates and new software versions. It is the opportunity to take advantage of the many benefits of upgrading, including access to business intelligence and data analytics, improved performance, security, and reliability that were not available in older versions.

While SQL 2008 end-of-life has been coming for a long time, many organizations continue to run critical workflows on SQL 2008. This can happen for many reasons, but often it comes down to the fact that large-scale migrations are complex, high-stakes projects with potential repercussions throughout the organization. When faced with this choice, it may make sense to speak with a third-party migrations specialist. A partner with significant experience in planning, managing, and implementing large-scale migrations of data and workflows can provide unique insight into the migration process, and help you to evaluate the pros and cons of the alternatives available.