For those of us who don't know, on the 9th of July 2019 Microsoft will end its support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2. Afterward, you will no longer receive any regular security updates.
It will result in the SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 as increasingly more vulnerable to cyber-attacks in the future, as well as potential business interruptions and loss of data. Likewise, the end of support will also mean that you can fail to meet various compliance standards and industry regulations. Also, your organization will encounter higher maintenance costs regarding legacy servers, firewalls, intrusion systems, and other similar tools that help protect your network and computers.
So, what are your options going forward? There are several options available to you to make this transition a seamless one for your organization.
Migrate to Azure
The first of these options is to migrate to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance. It is a pretty straightforward option with no application code changes and almost no downtime to your systems. A similar option is to move to Azure Virtual Machines. It will provide you with three years of extended security updates at no cost, and you can update to a newer version whenever you are ready.
By making use of Azure Hybrid Benefit, on the other hand, you will be able to run Windows virtual machines on Azure at a lower rate. You can save up to 55% with this option on your existing licenses. You will, however, need to have Software Assurance to use it.
All of these options presented here will require an Azure environment. It can be purchased in different ways and can be used beyond just hosting virtual machines. And SQL Server in Azure can be operated as a database-as-a-service
so that any patches will be assured automatically.
For better security, performance, availability, and opportunity for innovation via cloud analytics, you should also upgrade your systems to SQL Server 2017. Several enhancements come with SQL Server 2017, which will help you stay more secure and increase performance. Among these, we can count the Automatic Plan Correction, which will help detect and automatically correct any query plan stability issues.
Similarly, there's the Adaptive Query Processing (AQP) that can batch mode operations used with Columnstore indexes. There are also numerous other diagnostic and troubleshooting improvements. Some Showplan enhancements, for instance, are great at query tuning. Several new DMVs are useful for diagnostic and troubleshooting purposes.
SQL Server 2017 also brings to the table some community-driven enhancements such as the possibility for smart transaction log backup, differential backup, better TempDB monitoring, and diagnostics, as well as improved backup performance for small databases on high-end servers.
Keep in mind that, if you are unable to make the transition before the deadline, there is the possibility to extend security updates for an additional three years. Nevertheless, this option comes at a rather steep cost, but you have the opportunity to cover only the workloads that need it while you make the necessary upgrades.
While the end of support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will happen in July 2019, it will also occur for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on January 14, 2020. You can take this opportunity to modernize your entire database to the latest version of the Windows Server. Managed Solution is here to help you through this whole transition.