Extended Support ended for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on the 9th July 2019 and 14th January 2020 for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2. End of support means the end of security updates. This scenario can cause security or compliance issues and put business applications at risk.

Many organisations still have applications running on these versions which now presents them with a security risk that needs to be mitigated. Not having support poses a risk in the event of another major security attack like Spectre and Meltdown, or any of the various major remote desktop vulnerabilities, or a remote code execution bug in SQL Server. If situations like these happen, it is unlikely that Microsoft will issue a patch for versions that are out of support.

The main two types of Support Microsoft offer for SQL Server are Mainstream Support and Extended Support. Products are usually backed by 10 years support, which includes five years in mainstream support, and five years in extended support:

  • Mainstream support includes functional, performance, scalability and security updates

  • Extended support includes only security updates

The good news is that due to many organisations still using both versions, Microsoft is providing several options to continue getting support.

What are your options

The options you have to consider fall into three categories

1) Modernise to Azure,

2) Modernise on Premise and

3) Stay on-premise on 2008 and pay for Extended Security Support while you work on your plan to migrate or in some cases decommission.

Examining these options further:

Modernise to Azure

Under this option you have the choice to either:

  1. move to PaaS with Azure SQL Database Managed Instance (MI). Migrate to MI to gain the benefit of a fully managed services that always runs on evergreen features i.e. this means that ‘End of Support’ will not be relevant to you as Microsoft continuously updates the stack.

  2. Move to IaaS with Azure SQL VM. Under this option you will upgrade to SQL server 2017 on Azure VMs, or Move “as-is” with SQL Server and Windows Server 2008/R2 and get 3 Years of Extended Security Updates at no additional charge *note support for this option will ends 3 years from the official end of support date, not when you move.

Modernise to on-Premise

This option sees you upgrade on premise, this would involve upgrading to SQL Server 2017/2019 (and Windows Server 2016/2019 – or migrate to Red Hat 7 or 8).

Remain on-Premise

Under this option, you would elect to purchase extended security updates and look to keep the server and application as-is until the end of extended support. You can purchase Extended Security Updates through Volume Licensing Programs such as Enterprise Agreement (EA), Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS), Enrolment for Education Solutions (EES), or Server and Cloud Enrolment (SCE).

  • Extended Security Updates pricing will be 75 percent (annually) of the Enterprise Agreement or Server & Cloud Enrolment license prices of the latest version of SQL Server or Windows Server;

  • Coverage will be available in three consecutive 12-month increments following End of Support, but must pay upfront for the first year;

  • If you sign up for the service in the middle of a year, you have to pay for the full year; and

  • If you decide not to sign up for a year, then sign up the next year, you’ll have to pay for both years.

These options can be represented by the following diagram:

Whilst there are options to continue to operate SQL Server 2008 and SQL 2008 R2, eventually you will have to consider one of the options that result in upgrading or migrating away from these versions. Microsoft continues to innovate with SQL Server and the latest release includes the ability to run a clustered architecture on Red Hat Enterprise Linux which offers an extremely high performance and highly available solution that may represent an excellent target state for critical database workloads.

The diagram below is from Microsoft (click here for the original on microsoft.com) that illustrates the continuous innovation and capability that SQL Server continues to receive:

Pebble IT has deep experience helping organizations to create an inventory of their SQL Server estate and to then assess what efficiencies, and performance gains can be made through consolidation and modernization. We are Australian owned and based specialist Database Services business. Contact us at hello@pebbleit.com.au for a no obligations discussion on your SQL Server environment and situation.