Time is running out for organizations that are relying on Microsoft SQL Server 2005 to keep their business applications up and running.
Support for the company's SQL Server 2005 database software platform ends approximately a year from now, on April 12, 2016. As with other software that is put out to pasture, Microsoft doesn't "release security and hotfixes for that version of the product" once it pulls support, Tiffany Wissner, senior director of data platform marketing, told eWEEK.
Data security concerns aside, some customers may not have the choice but to let go of SQL Server 2005, regardless of how well or reliably it operates for them, Wissner said. Regulations governing certain industries may "require you to maintain compliant software," she said. Plus, keeping aging software and infrastructure can cause the price of IT maintenance to climb.
It's not just hackers, regulatory bodies or ballooning IT costs that businesses should fear. Falling behind the technological curve can also negatively impact businesses in fiercely competitive markets.
"The benefits of upgrading to a modern data platform far outweigh the costs of maintaining security, support and compliance for an unsupported database," T.K. Rengarajan, corporate vice president for Microsoft's data platform, wrote in an April 13 blog post. "Upgrading is not just a maintenance task, but an opportunity to provide new value to your business."
While Microsoft SQL Server 2005 was a "fantastic database for its time," Wissner said that customers clinging to the decade-old database are missing out on the performance-enhancing advances the company has been pouring into the platform.
In terms of raw performance, SQL Server 2014 is 13 times faster than SQL Server 2005, according to company benchmarks. SQL Server 2014's in-memory technologies can "accelerate those workloads further," Wissner said.
Launched a year ago, Microsoft SQL Server 2014 builds on the company's work with in-memory columnar data management to capitalize on the speed-boosting benefits provided by database servers outfitted with copious amounts of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM). "This release completely brings in-memory capability to all [workloads]—OLTP [online transaction processing], data warehousing and business intelligence," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement issued during the software's official debut.
Migrating away from SQL Server 2005 also presents customers with a "nice opportunity for them to think about modernization of the stack," said Wissner. Noting that some customers are also dealing with the impending Windows Server 2003 support deadline, customers can start "thinking about putting some of those applications on the cloud using our platform-as-a-service, Azure SQL database," she said. The move to a cloud-enabled SQL deployment also allows customers to use SQL Server Management Studio to "simplify the management of the application" on the cloud, and ultimately "take advantage of our 'four nines' [99.99 percent uptime] environment."
In terms of getting the word out, Microsoft has published guidance and tools, said Wissner. Apart from working with the professional SQL Server user community, she added that the company is already engaged with its "partner ecosystem and ISVs to make it easier for their customers to work with SQL Server 2014."