The lack of support for SQL Server 2005 won't have the impact of Server 2003's end of life. PCI compliance, for instance, demands that you are on a supported and patched operating system or you cannot connect to another PCI system. HIPPAA regulations also require a supported system, or you’re not in compliance with the law.
Compliance is as problematic for SQL Server 2005 as it is with Server 2003. HIPAA and PCI compliance both require up-to-date, patch databases, just like they do with the operating system. So if you’re using SQL Server 2005 for anything related to HIPAA or PCI, you will be out of compliance come next April.
When enterprises migrate off Windows Server 2003, they have two options: Server 2008 or Server 2012. The few firms that choose Server 2008 do so only because they already had Server 2008 deployed internally and they wanted consistency across the line, even if that meant a fairly old operating system.
For SQL Server customers, there are several options: SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014 and Azure SQL Database. SQL Server 2016 is currently in beta and customers are testing it out, but Microsoft does not advocate waiting for it to be released.
The two major differences between 2012 and 2014 are in-memory analytics and OLTP, says Wisner. With the in-memory column store, SQL Server 2014 saw 100-fold performance gains and a 30-fold improvement in OLTP processing. SQL Server 2014 also takes advantage of Windows Server 2012 R2 with virtualization and storage capabilities.
Paul Turley, a SQL Server MVP and BI architect with SolidQ, says he's known clients who preferred to be one version behind on a product rather than on the bleeding edge. "A large portion of companies live by the belief is to stay one version behind is the safe zone. It's been tested and debugged. So a lot of folks will stay behind purposely," he claims.
But in the case of SQL Server, he encourages people to get the newest version. "I can't think of any good reason to stay one version behind. Five years from now, how far behind do you want to be?" he asks.
Olofson argues that this migration is a time when some shops might want to consider migrating to Azure instead of on-premises, since the Azure version is mostly similar to the on-premises product. "It shouldn't be a one-off project, it should be part of an evolving strategy. It could be a part of a program for using the program for using the cloud for development testing in general," he says.
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