Many things have changed in the SQL Server world since SQL Server 2005 was released ten years ago. This new version brought an overhaul of the database engine for better performance and many important new features like:
- Database Mirroring
- Data Management Views and functions
- Service Broker
- Common Language Runtime
- Row versioning-based isolation levels
- Database Mail.
SQL 2005 was a giant step forward for SQL Server, but that was then, this is now. Microsoft is going to remove all support for SQL Server 2005 on April 12, 2016. I know that many of my clients and are still using SQL Server 2005 and I assume that many of you are facing the same problem: How will the lack of support affect you?
Do I Have to Upgrade?
There is no easy answer for that question. If you have the budget and a need for any of the new features of recent versions, then upgrading makes a great deal of sense. If you don’t have those needs, then upgrading is problematic. After all, Microsoft is not going to come and take your database software away. You can use it after de-support just as you use it today. However, some important things will change after April 12.
The Problem of Due Diligence
There will be no more bug fixes, service packs or most importantly, security patches for SQL 2005. You will be increasingly at risk as hackers find new vulnerabilities in SQL Server. You won’t be able to call Microsoft for help if you need it.
One often-overlooked consequence of continuing to use SQL 2005 is that if you do not upgrade to a supported version it is difficult to claim that you are practicing due diligence in protecting your company’s or your client’s data. This is especially important if you are required to meet credit card or HIPPA compliance requirements. I am not an attorney but I think that if you do not upgrade you would be in a difficult position in any legal action asserting a lack of due diligence on your part.
What Will it Cost to Upgrade?
An arm and a leg. And that is only for the licensing. Hardware costs, testing and various transition issues swell the real cost of upgrading.
The cost of licensing SQL Server has increased exponentially since you purchased your SQL 2005 licenses. While many factors combined to increase the cost of licensing, the change in core licensing is perhaps the biggest factor.
When licensing SQL 2005 you only paid for the physical CPUs in your server and failover servers Now you will have to pay for each core in the physical CPU. It is true that a core license is less expensive than the old CPU license, but in most cases the new licensing mode results in a huge increase in cost.
There are also rule changes in regard to failover instances that formerly would not have to be licensed and rule changes that make licensing a virtual server more expensive.
If you want a more in depth look into current licensing rules, read my article Sticker Shock. It was written just after Microsoft first disclosed its new licensing model.