SQL Server Blog

SQL Server 2008 is Dead…

… Long live that other SQL Server version you should have upgraded from long ago …

It’s January of 2019. 2019 and I’m writing a post reminding you that you it is time to upgrade from SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2!! Eleven years later..

That’s a testament to the amazing product that SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 was. But it’s also a testament to how busy we are.  It’s also a testament to how afraid we are. It’s a testament to how much power our vendors have over our plans. It’s a testament to the fact that there are too many choices out there. Hopefully, I’m preaching to the choir about this first point: You need a plan to Upgrade SQL Server 2008. Today.

I’ve been doing SQL Server stuff for 20 years now. I cut my teeth on SQL Server 6.5 and 7.0. I remember helping get folks convinced to come on up to SQL Server 2000 (frankly, it was an easier discussion back then!!!). I remember the paradigm

SQL Server 2008 Is Dead. LONG LIVE SQL SERVER 2012.
SQL Server 2008 Is Dead. LONG LIVE SQL SERVER 2012.

shift that was SQL Server 2005 (“Wait, where’s Query Analyzer?!”). But. Something has happened over the past decade… A LOT of people have just stopped upgrading. Perhaps it was the confusion of the switch to core-based licensing. Maybe it was increasing frequency of updates and a panicked “Pfft, forget it!!”. Maybe it was confusion and fear around deprecated features and uncertainty of what exactly that meant for you and your databases (nevermind compatibility modes are there…). ISVs also are to blame a little – I get it, they need to certify on new releases, and when the DBMS changes a bit faster than a waterfall SDLC release cycle changes – it gets hard to keep up.

But… The world has changed! Yet, statistically speaking, a decent percentage of you reading this will be reading while supporting some SQL Server 2008 environments. Microsoft has rattled our cages with their end of extended support. It’s a “no-brainer” for those of you still running SQL Server 2008/2008R2 – it’s time. Especially if your auditors and compliance folks have anything to say about it. It’s time to learn what’s changed out there since SQL Server 2008 (Availability Groups, Query Store, Extended Events, Columnstore, In-Memory OLTP, Increased memory access in Standard edition, many enterprise features being in Standard edition, the list keeps going!) And you’ll be on that journey soon, if you aren’t already.

But – don’t look on from the sidelines if you are on SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2014 and say “SQL Server 2008 Is Dead! Long Live SQL Server 2012!” – SQL Server 2019 , SQL Server 2016 and 2017 gave us many of the features hinted at above – or they took those features from their infancy in 2012/2014 and developed upon them and made them stronger. is looking even more exciting in a few key areas!

If You aren’t at least on SQL Server 2016… It’s Time to Upgrade!

You should really consider taking a serious look. Sure, you may have a bit more time than the folks on SQL Server 2008 have. But it really is an exciting time. You have options. You can go to the cloud. You can pick which vendor in the cloud. You can choose IaaS or PaaS. You may be able to go to SQL Server standard and save a bunch with some of the changes that have been out since SQL Server 2016. You can improve efficiency for your users and your admin teams. You owe it to yourself to do the hard thing, fight the inertia and upgrade.

The cool thing here is it’s not – really – that hard! I get it, it’s not something you do every week. What if you forget something? What if you don’t choose the right migration path? What if you don’t make the right prep steps? How do you minimize downtime during a migration style upgrade? What’s so bad about an in-place upgrade? Those questions linger. I get it. As a consultant, I still treat each upgrade with care and slow thought and extra protections for “just in case” moments!! It’s a big deal to your organization to do a SQL Server upgrade!!  So starting this week on Thursday 2/7, I have an upgrade webinar series that will have 5 parts. I’m not going to sell you consulting services. I’m not going to plan your entire upgrade! But I’ll walk you through some of the important questions to ask and consider Before, During and After your upgrade. And we’ll wrap it up on the 5th Thursday with a live-streamed Google Hangout with our entire Straight Path team (well, most of us at least!) where we’ll answer your questions. And if we need a week 6 live stream? I bet we can consider it.

So check out our upgrade webinar series. I’m not grabbing your e-mails or anything – you are registering directly at Webinar Ninja’s site. I want to help guide you through the things I think about and look for. It will be some slides and prepared remarks, some off the cuff chat, maybe some live answering of questions during the webinar if it’s relevant to that week’s topic. I want you to leave the series with a plan in mind and a bit more confidence in tackling these upgrade woes! Then we can say, “Long live a more recent and feature-rich version of SQL Server!” It’s time. You can do it. 

Consider registering for the free webinar and checking out the tips and content!!

Mike Walsh
Article by Mike Walsh
Mike loves mentoring clients on the right Systems or High Availability architectures because he enjoys those lightbulb moments and loves watching the right design and setup come together for a client. He started Straight Path in 2010 when he decided that after over a decade working with SQL Server in various roles, it was time to try and take his experience, passion, and knowledge to help clients of all shapes and sizes. Mike is a husband, father to four great children, and a Christian. He’s a volunteer Firefighter and EMT in his small town in New Hampshire, and when he isn’t playing with his family, solving SQL Server issues, or talking shop, it seems like he has plenty to do with his family running a small farm in NH raising Beef Cattle, Chickens, Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Honeybees and who knows what other animals have been added!

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