Next month, Microsoft is ending five years of extended support on SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2. This follows five years of mainstream support before that.
You really should be upgrading to SQL Server 2017 at the very least, with some serious consideration to the unreleased SQL Server 2019. My reasoning for suggesting 2019 is that it will take around six months to plan an upgrade, and by then SQL Server 2019 will have been released.
Additionally, SQL Server 2019 CTP 3.0 has been out for a while, and speaking as one of the authors on the upcoming SQL Server 2019 Administration Inside Out title, I’m pretty sure it’s close to feature-complete.
You can even run SQL Server 2019 (and 2017) in compatibility mode 100, which is the same as SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2. That’s incredible compatibility support from Microsoft: a full five versions (four, if you decide to go with 2017).
Of course there are reasons you may decide that you still need time to move to a newer version, and Microsoft has you covered.
From the official SQL Server 2008 website, there are four options:
- Rehost your SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 with few or no application code changes in Azure SQL Database Managed Instance for a “version-free” platform;
- Or, move to Azure Virtual Machines to get three years of Extended Security Updates at no additional charge and upgrade to a newer version when ready;
- Use existing licenses and save up to 55 percent with Azure Hybrid Benefit;
- For continued protection beyond the deadline, buy up to three years of Extended Security Updates — cover only the workloads you need while you upgrade.
The first three options involve moving your environment to Azure. The fourth option is provided for remaining on-premises. In my opinion, the fourth option will be expensive.
My advice continues to be to upgrade your SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 instances to SQL Server 2017 or SQL Server 2019. The investment in time, money and effort involved will be worthwhile in the medium-to-long term. The longer you remain on older versions, the further behind you will be when SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 is finally retired.
Share your thoughts in the comments below.