Microsoft end of support (EOS) for SQL Server 2008 is officially here. As of July 9th 2019, Microsoft has ceased providing patches and security updates for the popular SQL Server 2008 (R2) platforms, leaving organizations who have yet to plan for this date exposed from a security and compliance perspective. Doing nothing is risky and paying for extended support is wildly expensive and only offered to a certain group of customers. This leaves two options, upgrade your SQL Server 2008 workloads to a newer version of SQL or migrate your SQL Server 2008 workloads to Microsoft Azure (Microsoft provides incentives for this).
Upgrading to a new version of SQL Server is rarely as simple as clicking your way through a setup wizard, and planning a large-scale cloud migration can be a difficult journey. A re-platforming of this magnitude requires companies to reexamine some of their foundational practices to ensure a smooth transition.
Where will your Applications Live?
Many organizations deployed SQL Server 2008 before Microsoft Azure existed. A lot has changed since 2008, so enterprises should consider where their SQL Server 2008 workloads can best serve the business. Can these workloads migrate directly to Azure and remain on SQL Server 2008 or do application requirements prohibit this? While the extended support in Azure is a nice offer, migrating workloads (especially data bases) is tricky. If you choose to remain on-premises there are even more considerations. Will you re-platform to the newest version of SQL and deploy as a virtual machine or will you containerize that application? With so many different options, an intelligent, software driven approach focused on the application is needed to ensure an accurate and responsible migration plan.
What Platform will you Choose?
For many end of support cycles you would simply upgrade to the newest version of SQL offered by Microsoft. Now with viable competitive solutions (including opensource technology) and various PaaS solutions offered in Microsoft Azure, organizations should pick the service that best fits the application workload. Companies excelling in the cloud are leveraging this opportunity to modernize and differentiate their services.
How will you Plan the Journey?
No matter which avenue your organization chooses, significant planning is required. If you remain on-premises and will simply upgrade, how will you test for compatibility? Will you optimize your license count and virtual machine size based on application demand? If you are aiming to lift & shift your SQL Server 2008 workloads to Azure significant planning is required to understand what resources those workloads will need in Azure to deliver upon application performance requirements. Another consideration is which SQL server offering do you want to use in Azure? Will you leverage SQL in an Azure VM (IaaS) or do you want to migrate to their Azure SQL PaaS offering? These journeys each require dynamic planning methods that take into account the performance characteristics of each application workload.
An Opportunity to Modernize
The complexity of managing IT is growing by the day with explosive adoption of cloud and cloud native technologies. The most advanced enterprises are realizing that trying to solve this problem calls for intelligent software that manages hybrid estates, providing a single pane of glass. Furthermore, the best solutions provide value at every stage of the cloud journey. Organizations need application aware visibility and insight into environment options to assess what should move to the cloud. They require dynamic, application focused migration plans to move the bits and the bytes, and automated decisions driving world class application performance while enforcing compliance and adherence to budget once in Azure.
Don’t just go through the motions with your end of support modernization, embrace it and transform the way you deliver services to your end users!
To dive deeper into the risks and opportunities associated with SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 EOS read renowned tech author, former CIO and 17 time Microsoft MVP Brien Posey’s white paper, Windows Server 2008 & SQL Server 2008 End of Support: An Opportunity to Modernize.
Want to see how Turbonomic can help drive your end of support strategy, check out our video here!