6 Reasons To Upgrade SQL Server.

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We keep telling you why you shouldn’t stay on SQL Server 2008. What about reasons to do a SQL Server upgrade? Here are 6.

#1 Hardware Refresh Time!

What is your hardware profile? How old are your processors? How many cores do you need to have because of that?

One of the best things about starting with a new version of SQL Server is we get to start with new hardware. Or maybe make the move to your ESX hosts. Especially since we really hate in-place upgrades. You can build new, build for success and possibly save money in the process. You may be able to reduce cores with newer generation CPUs and faster memory/etc. You can fix those health check findings that needed “start over things”, like drive formats like the 64k allocation unit size.

#2 Can you Switch to Standard Edition?

Since SQL Server 2016 SP1, you can use quite a lot of the features of Enterprise edition in Standard edition.

Since SQL Server 2014 (or maybe 2012), you could start to use 128GB of RAM in Standard Edition.

Depending on your need for TDE (and you can get around that with encrypted backups now and something like bitlocker to encrypt the drives) or online index rebuilds (and a few in the SQL community even say skip those, and they make valid points!) – you may be able to migrate to standard edition. Imagine that. Reducing your costs – AND dramatically reducing your cost per core. Your CFO would throw a party in your honor!

#3 A Fresh Start Sometimes Means Fixing More.

We all make mistakes. We all learn new things and suddenly feel queasy about those servers we put into production at that last place! I get it! It’s natural. We learn. We grow. We evolve. Shouldn’t your SQL Server instances? Imagine taking all the stuff you’ve learned these past 6-10 years and applying them all from scratch on a SQL instance the new and improved you built!!! I get goosebumps thinking of the SQL Server you’d configure now that you’ve heard over and over why next-next-next-finish installs are bad (though.. speaking of that – the installer since SQL Server 2016 helps you start off with more best practices enabled! Good for you! Bad for consultants who make money fixing things the installer should have helped you out with from the start!!!)

#4 Did you see the new features?!

We have a whole post of them here. Well it’s not even all of them. We didn’t have the word count in us to write about all of them! Suffice it to say, if you are here because of SQL Server 2008, you’re gonna love the way you look on any version above it. Go check out that post and take in those features!

#5 Auditors, Lawyers, and Threats

The world has changed since SQL Server 2008. There are still bad people around. They are just smarter, and “badder”. Threats to data are real. Ransomeware attacks are real. And the auditors mean more business than they used to. Lawsuits are more frequent. Do all you can to protect your most important asset – your data! Friends don’t let friends run unsupported versions of products. There are out of the box improvements and tools to make your compliance story better. Plus it sounds a lot better to auditors, compliance officers, partners, prospective clients, judgets and juries to say “Of course we’re on a version of SQL Server that still has documentation and official support!”

#6 Zen and the art of Database Administration

There will always be developers. I’d say there will always be SAN administrators, but I don’t know about that anymore. The point is, there are always headaches for us DBA types! Why not reduce the number and size and weight of the pain points? By upgrading, you’ll have new tools and tricks to use. Query store is amazing for finding bad queries. Automatic tuning really can help with plan regressions and parameter sniffing (I’m talking to you – the one who frantically rushes to the office during lunch hour after getting the phone call to start repeatedly running DBCC FREEPROCCACHE to hold the world together for your users!). There are tools to make your life easier in each release of SQL Server. Not only that – but do you think all those monitoring vendors and scriptwriters are going to keep supporting SQL Server 2008 forever? Just because Microsoft has some deal where you can stay where you are and pay them extra for a little security patch love here and there doesn’t mean the support ecosystem will do the same thing. Upgrading will make your life easier as a DBA.

What’s the bottomline here? You already know it. It’s why you are here. It’s time to explore what’s changed. Upgrade today. There are lots of tools, scripts, guides and answers out there.

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