April 2016 marked the end of support for Microsoft’s SQL Server 2005, creating ripples of frustration across the vast number of Windows Server users still running it. We decided to take a look at what this means for organisations that have not yet migrated or upgraded to a newer version.
When is the right time to change?
We often speak to companies that choose to delay or defer an upgrade, for various different reasons. They may feel that migration is something which is simply too disruptive to the business, or they don’t have the resources available to manage any additional workload incurred by the shift. However, when facing the potential risks of remaining on an unsupported platform, the excuses quickly fade in light of what could happen.
How reliant are you on your data being available and secure? Are you running critical applications on your existing servers? For some businesses, the potential risk exposure of delaying action can be devastatingly broad. Still, until the full scope of that risk is outlined, a decision to upgrade or migrate often ends up being delayed.
Assessing the real risk
So how do you know what the potential impact would be for your business or for your clients, if anything was to happen to your data outside of Microsoft’s support? Creating a risk assessment can be costly and take time from your daily operations, but may prove invaluable in terms of justifying the necessary resources for an upgrade or migration. Having a third party create an impartial risk profile can often help to secure the support needed from key decision makers.
The most prevalent risk factors are:
- Security issues
Although you can still continue to run SQL Server 2005 uninterrupted, you will not receive any more critical security updates – which obviously puts your data at risk. If any breaches or vulnerabilities appear, there will be no patches provided to address them.
- Compliance issues
HIPAA and PCI compliance both require up-to-date and fully patched databases. Depending on the industry your business operates in, this could in itself be the most critical reason to upgrade.
- Higher maintenance costs
The cost of maintaining out-of-support software can be difficult to predict and control. Any data loss or software failures can require a disproportionate amount of resource to resolve – without any guarantees that the efforts will succeed.
- Loss of business
In many cases, the risk of losing clients or opportunities is the strongest driver for change. It’s important that your business looks at the long-term impact of remaining out of support. Although an upgrade is a temporary cost and inconvenience now, it could well turn out to reap much bigger rewards for you in the future – particularly considering the improved functionality in newer versions, which will improve your ability to compete in the market.
So – what are the options?
Although we’re seeing businesses arrive at various decisions on how to proceed, most of them take the upgrade path to SQL Server 2014, SQL Server 2016, or migrate to Azure SQL Database (which is Microsoft’s cloud alternative). Some organisations choose to migrate to a different platform and take the opportunity to review their IT strategy overall. A diminishing number still opt to defer an upgrade and take their chances on remaining with SQL Server 2005 until faced with a critical issue.
If you’re thinking about moving from SQL Server 2005, we’re here to help you through the process and find the right path forward. We are only ever interested in providing you with solutions that are cost-effective for your business and that will generate a return on investment.
Want a free review of your upgrade path options?
Contact us today on 0845 456 9866 or firstname.lastname@example.org.