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SQL Server 2008: Outside Expertise Can Help Your End-of-Support Migration

Mehul Joshi | | April 2, 2019

The saying that “all good things must come to an end” applies to software even more so than most other things. That’s the situation faced by many DBAs this year as Microsoft winds down its extended support for SQL Server 2008.

Running unsupported software is a potential minefield, so any data center still using SQL Server 2008 is faced with the challenge of transferring all the necessary data, applications and services from the old product to something current. It’s a non-trivial project, whether you opt for on-site servers, a cloud-based product, or a hybrid of the two.

Theory and Practice

The more time you spend on planning the more smoothly implementation should run, at least in theory. The difficulty is that major migrations like this one don’t come along very often, so many of the key people on your planning team–regardless of their overall experience–may not have been through the process previously. That’s a forbidding prospect, because “not knowing what you don’t know” can have painful repercussions.

That’s not to imply that the skills to complete the project in-house aren’t there. Still, migrating between platforms is an assignment that’s riddled with potential pitfalls for anyone who doesn’t have extensive experience in this specialized task.

The Studio Analogy

For a useful analogy, consider the 1960s heyday of the studio musician. These “hired guns” were specialists in the narrow field of studio recording. In those days, when recordings were made on analog tape with a limited number of tracks, any error or miscue was costly. Musicians who could work efficiently, be creative under time pressure and reliably get things right were a rare and valued commodity. It was a specialized skillset, honed to a fine edge through constant repetition.

It’s not that bands like the Beach Boys weren’t fine musicians in their own right. They certainly were, and they’d mastered the art of performing onstage to a live crowd. In the studio, though, even the best stage musicians took a back seat to the legendary sidemen of California’s “Wrecking Crew” or “The Swampers” of Alabama’s Muscle Shoals Studios. These seasoned pros knew how to work a studio, and they could lay down tracks faster and more efficiently than the bands themselves.

In much the same way, hiring outside expertise can smooth your migration from SQL Server 2008. A managed services provider like Datavail can draw on the cumulative experience of hundreds of DBAs, with extensive hands-on experience in exactly this kind of project. Bringing in professionals with the skills you need is a simple and pragmatic way to manage the time and resources needed to bring the project to a successful conclusion.

For a more detailed look at planning your upgrade from SQL Server 2008, and how Datavail can help, download our white paper today.

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