When Was the Last Time You Upgraded SQL Server?


Upgrade your SQL Server.  But how?  It’s kind of like that college class you hated but was necessary to take in order to graduate. The homework was awful so you kept putting it off until the last minute.  In the case of SQL Server, you may have systems that are 5 or even 10 years old.  There are various reasons why you don’t upgrade them. Maybe the software they run won’t work on newer versions, maybe the hardware won’t run the latest edition, or maybe there is no reason to upgrade because no one complains.  Be wary, complacency can be an expensive trap.  The dangers of not upgrading can be both highly visible but also hidden.  Hidden costs include higher maintenance, lower productivity, or higher turnover.

Upgrade Your SQL Server

Of course, this is all easily avoidable. Upgrading SQL Server does not have to be a major chore.  Two things are needed: coordination and planning.  Upgrading SQL Server falls mainly into two categories.  The first is an in-place upgrade.  Service packs and hotfixes are good candidates for in-place upgrades. The other option is to build out an upgrade alongside a production system.  This is a good option for critical systems or older systems where there is not a good path from one version to another.

Why A Side-By-Side Upgrade?

A side-by-side upgrade is also a good option when the production system is running on older hardware or an application is being upgraded along with SQL Server.  The method you choose is determined by your unique environment.  Finally, a successful upgrade project depends on notifying users and providing them with realistic downtime expectations.

Benefits

  • Security.  Each version provides increased security against any number of modern threats. Upgrades are critical to staying ahead of these threats.
  • Performance. With each new version, Microsoft improves the performance of SQL Server. Upgrading allows you to take advantage of these improvements.
  • Productivity. Newer versions introduce tools and methods for increasing productivity. These include newer DMV’s and a better user interface.
  • Interoperability.  You may have some applications that will only run on older versions of SQL but most vendors are better than that. Newer versions can increase interoperability between other applications as well as other database management systems.
  • Cost. Real and hidden costs. If you have SA then you are paying for upgrades whether you do them or not. If you have Microsoft vouchers then you are paying for upgrade services you are not using.  Most good DBA’s won’t stand for managing older versions. Most new DBA hires won’t know how to manage older versions.

Upgrade Your SQL Server Now

Are there reasons not to upgrade?  Actually, there are. If you have systems marked for decommissioning or used only for archiving old data, upgrading may not be worth the time.  You can potentially save money in licensing costs by excluding these systems from your SA agreement.  Most of your systems will fall into an upgrade path. Keep in mind the longer you wait to upgrade the harder it will be to upgrade. By maintaining a consistent upgrade schedule you ensure yourself a more stable environment with all the tools and features included in the latest versions.


Next Steps

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