SQL Server 2008 Reaches End of Support Soon – What Do You Need to Know?

October 23rd 2018 / By Ross Stern

9th July 2019 is the date that SQL Server 2008 reaches end of support. While Microsoft made the announcement with a timescale that meant there was plenty of time left for businesses to forward plan for a new IT solution, perhaps the lack of understanding about what ‘end of support’ truly means has meant that many businesses are yet to find an alternative. Are you using SQL Server 2008? If so, have you dedicated the time to source a new back-end database?  

It’s Time to Act

With only eight full months of support left, Microsoft are strongly recommending that the small and medium sized enterprises that are using the system, should upgrade to a solution that will continue to be supported.

It’s not the case that the product will suddenly cease to function after the end of support date, however, businesses must understand that, by not upgrading, they are forcing their business into a vulnerable position.

After July 2019, there will be no further security updates for SQL Server 2008, putting them at far greater risk of a cyber attack. It’s true to say that in today’s world; these attacks are increasingly common, with perpetrators using code that is highly sophisticated and frequently changing. Recent high-profile cases against the likes of British Airways and Facebook, serve to remind us that proactive vigilance is paramount when it comes to cyber security.

Microsoft security updates, security bulletin patches, cumulative patches and security roll-up patches (SRP) are considered by the corporation to be of the utmost importance, as they address known risks and are fully supported by its platforms.

Without regular security updates, your system won’t be protected from cyber criminals, and there WILL be gaps that be used for exploitation.

Although it’s not all doom and gloom, upgrading to a modern solution provides you with many benefits such as increased performance and capabilities along with enhanced productivity. When we are living in an era in which it’s widely known that innovation is driving many industries forward, switching to a modern solution is surely a positive and forward-thinking strategy that will give you a competitive edge.

A Simple Cloud Solution

The end of support provides you with an ideal opportunity to transform your business IT solutions. With the right IT partner, upgrading to a modern, fully supported system can be an extremely straightforward process.

While, of course, you have the option of upgrading the SQL you are currently running and keeping the upgraded version on-site, this strategy has the potential to raise future challenges. When it comes to upgrade your server software, such as SQL Server 2008, the best practice would be to wipe the server and install the new software installed, causing days’ worth of downtime. There is an option to carry out an in-place upgrade, however this can cause issues, leave behind legacy data and result in an untidy server.

The other issue lies in the fact that physical server equipment reaches end of life after around five years, and after this time, you will be unable to obtain replacement parts from the manufacturer. The hardware may also be unable to support new software.

When you consider the cost implications of upgrading equipment every three to five years, and the loss of productivity when it comes to downtime, it seems there is little business sense to remaining with a physical on-premise solution, unless of course you are using bespoke software that isn’t supported with a cloud solution.

Cloud-based Alternatives

One alternative is to opt for a future-proofed, cloud-based solution such as Virtual Machines by Microsoft Azure. This can either run the latest SQL Server technologies, or SQL Server 2008 (where Microsoft are offering an additional three years of free extended security updates when hosted in Azure). This strategy will see you moving to an IaaS solution, with your server set up in the Cloud.

Another option is use a PaaS (platform as a service) solution. This is where Microsoft manage the actual installation of SQL Server, and all you have to worry about is the database itself. If your software supports this, it’s highly recommended – it’s usually a far more cost effective solution, while still offering increased resilience and security as Microsoft are still running the service.

By moving your current SQL Server 2008 workloads to Microsoft Azure, you gain the ultimate in business flexibility and enable your business to become agile. The ability to auto-scale during peak times, added security, peace of mind with Azure Site Recovery and a solution that is fully adaptable when it comes to hosting customisable applications that suit your needs.

So how do you begin the process of migration?

With the right IT cloud solution provider.

We will use our industry expertise and prescriptive approach to work with you to assess the data/workloads running on SQL Server 2008. Through the process of analysing your workloads and applications, we can propose the right migration process for your business.

We will then begin the process of migrating your SQL server to Azure before the end-of-support date. Once the migration process is complete, we will provide ongoing support to monitor your solutions, making sure it’s running in peak condition, installing the latest Microsoft updates to ensure security, and provide support to resolve any issues that you may encounter, such as issues with remote working.

Along with SQL Server 2008 coming to its end of support date, the Windows Server 2008 family will also reach end of support in January 2020. We will provide further details on the future of this technology and the next steps for your IT infrastructure should you be running it, in a future blog.

If you are running SQL Server 2008 and would like to discuss your options when it comes to upgrading, please do not hesitate to call us on 020 3819 3300.

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