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How to Get Off SQL 2008

Author: Eric Russo | | August 17, 2017

SQL 2008 reaches its extended end of life on July 9th, 2019. At that point, it no longer receives any security updates, paid support or non-security hotfixes. If you continue using SQL 2008, you put yourself at risk for security exploits, incur higher maintenance costs and may fall out of compliance with industry regulations. Here’s how you can get your organization off of SQL 2008.

Step 1 – Planning

The process starts out by evaluating the current database environment. If database and application inventories don’t exist, MAP or SQL Power Doc generates this information. You run the SQL Server upgrade advisor to discover whether database issues could stop this process from completing successfully.

Do you have ETL, data integration or other system utilities that would be disrupted when you upgrade your databases? You need a plan to account for this so you don’t end up with unexpected downtime.

Now it’s time to ask yourself a few logistical questions. Does your server operating system support the new SQL version, or would you need to update other systems before this process takes place? How will you migrate data and cut over to the new system?

Is this going to be an on-premise system, or are you incorporating cloud computing as well? Will you use a hybrid or public cloud option or another form of virtualization?

When it’s time to upgrade SQL 2008, decide whether you’re going to perform an in-place or side-by-side update. Each has its advantages, but you’ll want to weigh the risks as well. Put together a rollback strategy in case things go unexpectedly wrong with the upgrade.

Step 2 – Execution

Now that you have a plan in place, it’s time to execute it. Address application incompatibilities and vendor support before you begin the rest of the process. Otherwise, you may find yourself generating more work than you expected.

Go through the findings from the SQL Server upgrade advisor and resolve them so you can move forward. Rewrite and adjust SSIS packages for ETL and data integration.

Configure and set up your data replication and migration strategy. Automation can help streamline this process, although if you haven’t upgraded your SQL version before, you face a significant learning curve. Working with a specialized IT services provider experienced in database migration and upgrades, such as Datavail, allows you to avoid many common issues that could plague your plan.

The testing process starts in the pre-production environment first. You don’t want to go straight to production and end up getting a lot of downtime, causing errors. QA checks the functionality, stability and other aspects of the upgrade before giving the go-ahead to continue. The QA, test and stage environments receive updates before it’s time to take it to the production environment.

Once you sign-off at this part of the process, the update goes live and you end up with a version of SQL that’s not facing end-of-life in two years. If you don’t have the IT bandwidth in house to move off of SQL 2008, work with an experienced partner that has upgraded many systems. Datavail can help you every step of the way from planning out the upgrade to configuring automation scripts to speed up the process. Get in touch to discuss your project today.

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