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SQL Server 2008 Support Has Ended. Now What?
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SQL Server 2008 Support Has Ended. Now What?

TMB looks at your options if you’re still running this software.

Today’s the day. If you’re running Microsoft SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2, you’re now officially using an unsupported operating system. The extended support phase for these products is over, and that means no more updates or patches, even for security issues. So what should you do now, if you’re affected?

Extended Security Updates

As with Windows 7, some businesses may qualify for an Extended Security Updates (ESU) phase. This runs for three years after the end-of-support date and will ensure SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 aren’t left vulnerable to cyber threats – although you only get critical and important security updates.

In most cases, access to ESU comes at a price, with customers having to cover any affected servers with Microsoft’s Software Assurance. For on-premise servers, that’s charged at 75% of the latest version of SQL Server, and it’s necessary to buy at least 12 months of coverage at a time.

There is, however, a way to avoid these fees – one that perfectly illustrates Microsoft’s priorities.

ESU In Azure

Should you choose to migrate your servers online to Azure virtual machines, you’ll get Extended Security Updates for Windows SQL Server for free. You’ll have to pay for the virtual machines, of course, but there will be no additional charges on top of that.

Clearly, Microsoft is keen to get customers onto its cloud solutions, so it’s definitely worth considering as a long-term solution.

There are also discounts under the Azure Hybrid Benefit scheme. If you have Software Assurance or Server Subscriptions, you can save on Azure virtual machines or Azure SQL Database Managed Instance.

If you have a server hosted with a different cloud provider, you’ll also need Software Assurance to qualify for ESU.

Upgrading Your OS

If you need to keep your server on-site, then it makes sense to upgrade to a new version of SQL Server. SQL Server 2019 has yet to see a full commercial release, but there are plenty of earlier editions that are still supported. From 2016 onwards, only 64-bit processors are supported, so bear that in mind if your server is particularly old.

At this late stage, if you’re still on SQL Server 2008, then paying for ESU might sense (assuming you qualify). But when you could spend just a little more and get an up-to-date solution with full support, it doesn’t seem like something you’d want to do for longer than you absolutely need to.

What Now?

Ideally, you should already have a plan to migrate away from SQL Server 2008, but if you don’t, then you need to make the decision about whether to pay for critical updates or start working on your migration ASAP.

We recommend reading Microsoft’s FAQ on this subject to get the full lowdown on this topic. However, if you don’t have time for that or you’re unsure about anything, then get in touch with TMB to discuss your options. Existing customers can contact their account manager.