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Microsoft Warns of SQL Server 2008 End of Support in Less than a Year

In less than a year, Microsoft will end support for SQL Server 2008, meaning no more updates and no more support, but perhaps more problems on the security and compliance fronts for organizations that don't migrate to newer options.

After a 10-year run, Microsoft is giving enterprises plenty of time and plenty of advice on how to deal with swapping out their entrenched SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 installations, preferably to the Azure cloud (where the upcoming Azure SQL Database Managed Instance is an option) or the latest on-premises version, SQL Server 2017.

"End of support means the end of regular security updates," said Microsoft exec Takeshi Numoto in a blog post last week. "With cyberattacks becoming more sophisticated and frequent, running apps and data on unsupported versions can create significant security and compliance risks. The 2008 family of products was great for its time, but we highly recommend upgrading to the most current versions for better performance, efficiency, and regular security updates."

Microsoft is recommending two options for enterprise upgrades: migrating to the Azure cloud or doing an in-premises upgrade.

With the preferred Azure option, the company is offering free Extended Security Updates to help secure 2008, R2 and Windows Server workloads for three more years after the July 9, 2019, end-of-support cut-off, recognizing "that it can be hard to upgrade everything before the end of support timeline." Support ends for Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 on Jan. 14, 2020

"You can also move your SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 deployments with no application code change and near zero downtime to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance," Numoto said. "It is a fully-managed database-as-a-service solution with industry leading SLAs and does not require future upgrades. Azure SQL Database Managed Instance will be generally available in early Q4 of this calendar year."

Extended Security Updates will also be available for on-premises upgrades, but only for purchase and only by organizations with Software Assurance or Subscription licenses under an Enterprise Agreement enrollment.

The company provides detailed information on the upgrades in its 2008 End of Support Resource Center. That site guides organizations in finding a migration partner or undertaking the task themselves with a three-step process: assess, migrate and optimize.

More information on end-of-support options is also available in a July 12 webinar that is available on-demand.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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