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Reducing SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2014 DB Migration Outages

Andy McDermid | | February 1, 2017

Say you’re making a big jump and upgrading a database from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2014. Of course, it only makes sense that this will be a side-by-side upgrade and therefore you’ll need a plan to migrate your DB from the SQL 2000 box to the SQL 2014 box. SQL 2014 won’t allow a restore or attach of a SQL 2000 DB. SQL 2014 only allows restore or attach of SQL 2008 DBs and later. So we need a 2-hop migration plan. Here’s a “you get the general idea” sketch of the plan:

  1. Disconnect DB connections – outage begins
  2. Backup the SQL 2000 DB
  3. Copy the backup to the SQL 2008 server
  4. Hop 1- restore the DB to the SQL 2008 instance
  5. Backup the SQL 2008 DB
  6. Copy the backup to the SQL 2014 server
  7. Hop 2 – restore the DB to the SQL 2014 instance
  8. Redirect DB connections & etc. – outage ends

The good news for our 2-hop plan is the intermediate SQL 2008 instance need not be production caliber any way – it’s a just a temporary stop-over on the way to update the DB so we can restore it to SQL 2014. The bad news is, this 2-hop plan complicates the migration plan and extends the potential outage as we copy\paste database backups or data files over the network between the three servers.

But there is a way to simplify the plan and minimize the outage. Let’s try this:

  1. Disconnect DB connections – outage begins
  2. Detach the SQL 2000 DB
  3. Copy the database files to the SQL 2014 server
  4. Hop 1- attach the DB to the SQL 2008 instance
  5. Detach the SQL 2008 DB
  6. Hop 2 – attach the DB to the SQL 2014 instance
  7. Redirect DB connections & etc. – outage ends

We’re using detach/attach here rather than backup/restore but that’s not too important – things would work out fine either way. The thing to notice is that we lost a step and, more importantly, gained back the time it takes to get to step 6 – copying the backup to the SQL 2014 server. We only need one copy operation – from the SQL 2000 server direct to the target SQL 2014 server. Depending on DB size, network speeds and copy methods, that might be a lot of time saved.

How can this work? Because SQL 2008r2 (and SQL 2008 with -T1807) allows the database file path to be a UNC – i.e. in this case a file share to the DB files on the SQL 2014 server.
So, the hop 1 (step 6 above) might look something like this:

USE master;






ON (FILENAME = '\\SQLServer2014\MySQLServer\AdventureWorks2012_Data.mdf'),


(FILENAME = '\\SQLServer2014\MySQLServer\AdventureWorks2012_Log.ldf')





Read up on it here: Description of support for network database files in SQL Server.

This sketch is skimming over quite a few other considerations so be sure think through all the other migration do’s and dont’s. And don’t forget to clean up that file share once the migration is complete. Happy (migration) trails to you!

This post was originally published on Andy McDermid’s blog:

Additional resource: Upgrading to SQL Server 2012 and Beyond 

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