Microsoft to End SQL Server 2005 Support in 6 Months

Companies have less than half a year to migrate from the 10-year-old database software or risk the consequences of unpatched, out-of-compliance database systems.

SQL Server

Microsoft is warning businesses that the software giant is putting more aging software out to pasture next April. Approximately six months from now, on April 12, 2016, the company is pulling the plug on Microsoft SQL Server 2005.

"That means an end to supportability updates, and perhaps more importantly, security updates," wrote Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Marketing, in a company blog post. Ten years is a long time in terms of IT, he reminded. Apart from the advanced new functionality and improved performance in newer versions of the database software, there are more pressing reasons to ditch the SQL Server 2005.

"Continuing to operate SQL Server 2005 without security updates and hotfixes from Microsoft may put your organization at risk for business disruptions, security and compliance issues, and increased maintenance costs," cautioned Numoto. Naturally, Microsoft offers an upgrade path.

"Upgrading to SQL Server 2014 before extended support ends next April is not only a necessary security and compliance decision, but a sound business decision as well," he said.

Asserting that the latest version of the software "was engineered for security from the ground up," Microsoft outlined on its Website several reasons why enterprises should consider migrating to SQL Server 2014. They include "security roles for separation of duties, full-featured auditing and transparent data encryption make it possible for any organization to meet its regulatory compliance standards, such as PCI-DSS [Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard] for credit card transactions, HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] for medical patient privacy, and GLBA [Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act] for financial institutions," stated Microsoft.

Microsoft's database is also more hacker-resistant. "SQL Server has had the least vulnerabilities of any major database the past six years running, as tracked by the National Institute of Standards and Technology," boasted the company.

Companies clinging to the old database and Windows Server 2003, the latter of which reached its end of life on July 14, are also missing out on major scalability and performance enhancements, according to Numoto. "If you are running Windows Server 2003 as well as SQL Server 2005, an investment in both your infrastructure and your database technology will ensure you realize the maximum benefits of a truly modern platform by taking advantage of new security features like Windows Server Core support or the ability to scale up to 640 logical processors on Windows Server 2012 R2."

Windows Server Core is a minimal, command-line-driven installation option introduced in Windows Server 2008. By reducing the OS to its most essential components, Windows Server Core uses fewer system resources and improves security by maintaining a smaller attack surface compared with a full-blown OS installation.

Launched in April 2014, Microsoft SQL Server 2014 supports Azure-compatible hybrid-cloud deployment options and high-performance in-memory transaction processing. It provides "in-memory across workloads for up to 30x transactional performance gains and over 100x faster queries to work with larger quantities of data and get the fast answers you need.," Numoto said.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...