5 Reasons We Aren’t Upgrading SQL Servers


… And why they aren’t very good reasons

I mean. I’m writing this in 2019. On a site geared towards trying to help folks out of the cage that is SQL Server 2008… By many estimates, at least 15-20% of the SQL Server shops out there think they are good reasons, I guess!

Why SQL Server 2008 Upgrades Are NOT happening

First. The list.

  1. A lot will break. And we don’t even have a way of knowing what will break!
  2. Microsoft keeps releasing new versions. How the heck do we choose?!
  3. All of those third party apps; it’s daunting!
  4. All the downtime, all the risk, we don’t have the time to manage this!
  5. If it ain’t broke… We don’t need new features, all is working, why change it?!

It’s a decent list. I’ve thought these things myself! There are more reasons, share yours in the comments, and we can discuss those, too! The short story here is – it’s time. It’s well past time.

Some answers to the above objections:

  1. No. A lot just won’t break. In fact, if you just do some searching for “breaking features SQL Server 20_ _ ,” you’ll see that quite a lot of the features you’ve come to rely on and the way your databases are designed will likely be okay. It’s almost like Microsoft wanted to reduce barriers to upgrade! Sure, some could but that’s why there are tools and techniques to see what will break before you upgrade. Easy to use and configure tools, too. Check out the webinar series we link to at the bottom to learn about these tools. You can rather easily see how scary the upgrade is. And, PS, you can usually run in a compatibility mode supoprting the version you are on (sure there are limits, you can’t go to SQL Server 2017 and run in 2008 compatibility mode, for instance.
  2. Again, check out the webinar series below. And look at the breaking features. You should go to the latest you can easily get to. But, let’s be honest, just going up a version or two from SQL Server 2008 will give you years of supportability, years of supported monitoring and maintenance tools, and the confidence of at least having a version created after the iPad first came out!
  3. You’ll find ISVs will be a thorn in your side as long as you administer a database. Whether you upgrade or not. So don’t let them boss you around!! Now, support contracts are another matter. You’ll likely find, though, that most vendors have long surpassed SQL Server 2008. That excuse is old and tired. Have a chat with them. (Now the exception here may be that old ERP that fell out of support a decade ago and the oen developer of it is no longer responding to e-mails. That may be a good time to consider looking to one of the “deals with the Microsoft” out there right now to stay on 2008 a bit longer while you shop around for a new vendor! It’s a rare story, though, that a vendor is going to hold you hostage on SQL Server 2008. ESPECIALLY if you are in a regulated industry with compliance audits/etc.
  4. Pfft! Don’t worry about the downtime. Go check out the last two webinars in the SQL Server upgrade site we did over at Straight Path Solutions! There are many ways to do a cutover, regardless of database size, in a matter of minutes or seconds if you had to. There are ways. Any solid SQL Server consultant or DBA can help handle that aspect for you!
  5. Right. It’s not “broke” – it’s just antiquated. I mean look at all the features and improvements not there. You’ve probably upgraded your phone, what, 3 times since SQL Server 2008 came out? 4? I guarantee you – unless it met the pavement too many times, that wasn’t broken either! The world of technology has evolved. HA/DR. New features. Security and Compliance. So. Many. New. Things.

So… Why Haven’t You?

I don’t mean to sound dismissive. There are some valid reasons. But that list is getting shorter and shorter. There is a world of improvements out there. If you have the right team in place, you can upgrade with ease. You can reduce downtime. You can minimize each of the risks here – and more. SQL Server upgrades are not scary. They don’t require massive downtime. They require some careful planning and smarts, but this isn’t rocket surgery.

Check out the free SQL Server upgrade webinar series we did over at our Straight Path site. Look at the various videos out there. Check out our free upgrade checklist over there with the videos. You can do this. 100%

You probably don’t even need consulting help, but if you want a lift up and some outside sanity checks? We can help.

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