Is it now time to upgrade your SQL Servers?

By David Hughes on

Mainstream Support for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 ended on 11th July 2017, therefore if you are not using version 2014 (with Service Pack 2), 2016 or the recently released 2017, you only qualify for extended support.

Graph showing distribution of SQL versions by percentage

SQL Server is a critical component of many business systems, yet it is often ignored when it comes to patching or upgrading. Consequently, it should come as no surprise that this chart from Quest Spotlight shows that only 33% of deployed versions are eligible for Maintained Support, which alarmingly means approximately 66% of SQL Server deployments have reduced support or none at all!

So what?

It could mean that the systems containing your customer or business data are at increased risk of attack or data theft. Consequently you may be in breach of legal obligations.  For example, Article 5 of the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as published on the Information Commissioner’s Office site, includes the principle that personal data shall be:

“(f) processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.”

In a worst case scenario, a breach of GDPR rules could result in a fine of €20,000,000 or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is higher.

Want some more positive reasons to upgrade to SQL Server 2017?


Infographic showing SQL 2017 capabilities

Building on the strong foundation of the 2016 version, 2017 brings some key enhancements:

  • Performance – Core engine tuning meets the design objective to ‘Just run Faster’ than previous versions. In addition, recent enhancements include Adaptive Query Processing and Automatic Tuning to constantly monitor and optimise processing.
  • Security – Features such as Always Encrypted, Row Level Security and Dynamic Data Masking contribute to SQL Server’s enviable record as the most secure database platform.
  • Reliability – Improvements to Always On high availability such as direct seeding of databases, load balancing for read-only access and Basic Availability Group support in Standard Edition, makes SQL Server ideally suited for mission critical systems.
  • BI & Analytics – Real-time operational analytics, enabling queries directly on transactional systems, in-database support for both R and Python and an updated Reporting Services portal, extend SQL Server’s powerful business intelligence offering.
  • Linux, Cloud & Hybrid – Support for Linux and Azure integration features such as Stretch Database and Managed Backup enable a wide range of deployment options.

VIDEO: Performance, Security, Flexibility—and now on Linux

What should I do next?

First of all, take steps to identify what is deployed within your estate, using tools like Microsoft’s Assessment & Planning Toolkit. In addition, start considering questions such as:

  • Are my current systems in a healthy state?
  • Is it time to virtualise or move to the cloud?
  • Would a highly-available platform provide benefits to the business?
  • Can I reduce the current server sprawl and consolidate?
  • Am I using the most appropriate and cost-effective licensing model?

Following that, think about how you are going to implement an upgrade and do you need help?

How Can Silversands Help?

Silversands helps you get the most of your systems, by providing a wide range of services,such as:

  • performing in-depth SQL Server platform health checks – one-off or regular service
  • guiding you through Upgrade, migration and consolidation, with provisioning and go-live support, for both on-premises and cloud deployments.
  • helping you plan and implement high availability and disaster recovery.
  • offering an outsourced database administration capability, from ad-hoc support to 24×7 cover.
  • conducting Database design and performance tuning, including end-to-end custom application development.
  • assisting with Business intelligence, including Reporting Services and Power BI.

So if you think you need help please do get in touch.

More information

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