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The deadline for the end of support of an operating system is always an opportunity for the channel to talk to users about the overall strategy and pitch an upgrade or an alternative solution.
The impact of some of the bigger OS support expirations have managed to lead to uplifts in hardware and software spending and driven a fair amount of business for the channel.
The chances that the end of official support for SQL Server 2005 on 12 April will be as major a driver for activity as Windows XP or the end of Server 2003 is debatable, but it is still an opportunity for those selling database management systems.
At the front of the queue in informing customers about what their options are will be Camwood, which has been consistently providing advice over previous OS migrations.
"While we’d like to hope that most organisations have learnt their lesson from the end of Windows XP and Server 2003, there will always be a temptation to leave these migrations to the very last minute. This is especially true for low profile migrations such as SQL Server 2005, which many businesses are yet to even register on their IT agendas," said Adrian Foxall, CEO of Camwood.
As with all of the other Microsoft end of life support moments the emphasis will not just be on replacing the OS with something more up-to-date but encouraging customers to think a bit bigger about their ambitions.
"If IT departments want this process to run smoothly, they need to treat these minor upgrades in the same way that they would treat a major OS migration – as an opportunity to clean up their application estates and reorganise backend systems to maximise server productivity," said Foxall.
Gridstore has surveyed users to find out just what is being used out there and which versions customers have already migrated to:
- While some had upgraded to SQL Server 2012 SP3 and were comfortable they were well within their support maintenance period, only 34% of those surveyed had upgraded to SQL Server 2014 SP1 leaving the vast majority faced with expired Main Stream Support end dates, and many of which were perilously close to the expiration of their extended support end dates.
- Of the top versions deployed within their IT estate, SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3 dominated with 59%, SQL Server 2008 SP4 at 32% and SQL Server 2005 SP4 at 17%.
"April 12 shouldn’t just be about the end of SQL Server 2005, it should be the start of an annual IT spring clean," he added.
Customers may well be looking for the changes with SQL Server as a moment when they not only update things but also consolidate their data centres.
According to research from Gridstore the need to reduce cost and improve efficiency were driving SQL Server consolidation and that had to be a trend the channel was aware of.
“Our research clearly highlights the drivers for SQL Server consolidation – cost take-out and improvements in efficiency – and yet what also comes out loud and clear from the findings is a desire by IT managers to ensure good performance while virtualising their SQL environment,” said Gridstore founder and CTO Kelly Murphy “And upgrade to the latest version.”