Security Concerns as SQL Server 2005 approaches end-of-life

George W. Bush begins his second term. Tom Cruise is so excited about a girl from Dawson’s Creek that he jumps all over Oprah’s couch. Three guys launch a video-sharing site with a video of a trip to the zoo. And Microsoft releases SQL Server 2005.

YouTube is still going strong, but SQL Server 2005 is limping towards end-of-life on 12 April 2016. It was a solid offering that served its users well. But the world has changed plenty since Snoop Dogg and Pharrell brought us Drop It Like It’s Hot. There have been improvements, enhancements, new capabilities and new technologies. Greatest of all, the cloud has descended.

If you are still running SQL Server 2005, it is time to think about SQL Server 2014.

Two options

Microsoft might not be supporting SQL Server 2005 after April next year, but it is you who decides whether to turn the lights off.

Option 1: Stick with it

All the way back in 2012, Robert S. Mueller, III, Director of the FBI, said there were only two kinds of companies: those that have been hacked and those that will be. One day, he said, there would be only one category: those that have been hacked and will be hacked again.

Moving forward on a legacy system without security patches is a gutsy move. In some industries it is not even an option. Even if you were willing to chance running an unpatched system, the regulator would not allow it. Where support is a mandatory part of business continuity and data protection plans, compliance means upgrading.

Option 2: Upgrade

The good news is that upgrading makes sense. SQL Server 2014 is not a small step up. It offers better performance, in-memory access for workloads, AlwaysOn (high availability), and two-way communication with the cloud.

Microsoft has benchmarked the SQL Server 2014 at 13-times faster than SQL Server 2005, with in-memory across workloads for up to 30-times transactional performance gains and over 100-times faster queries. You can work with larger quantities of data and get faster answers.

Migrating Side-by-side migration

  • If you are upgrading, your first option is to migrate to the latest version. This is probably easiest. It can be done in place if resources are limited, or can be implemented side-by-side with an existing set-up.

  • There are two benefits to a side-by-side implementation where the new SQL server runs in parallel with the existing SQL server. Firstly, you can test the new set-up has everything you need. Secondly, and more importantly, you can roll back to the legacy version if something goes wrong.

Migration to the cloud

  • Migrating to the cloud calls for a different approach, but it takes away the challenges that come from running systems side by side. But your challenges will shift to considering the ramifications for how you work with a new way of managing your infrastructure.