2008 was 10 years ago; but why does that matter? Well, if you are still using Windows Server 2008 and/or SQL Server 2008, it’s time to move on. That’s because:
- Extended Support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end on July 9, 2019.
- Extended Support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end on January 14, 2020.
Why should you be concerned about support ending? With cyberattacks on the rise, and security becoming increasingly more difficult to attain, having any lapse in protection is risky. With support no longer available for the 2008 products, you will receive no more security updates, which will leave you vulnerable to an attack. Additionally, if you are not in a version that is supported, you risk being non-compliant in your industry. And with CJIS and HIPAA regulations cracking down on compliance, it is wise to remain in good-standing. It may seem like 2019 and 2020 are a long way off, and that you don’t need to deal with this now; but that isn’t accurate. Upgrading requires time and planning to get the job done, and to ensure that it’s right. So, instead of waiting until the last minute when something could fail and there is no support to help guide you, it makes sense to start the transition now.
Cons of Not Upgrading
- No software updates: you will be using outdated equipment with outdated software.
- No support: if anything goes wrong, there is no help and your data will be gone for good.
- No security updates: when security risks are made known and a patch is created, it won’t be released to you on outdated products.
Pros of Upgrading
- Upgrading is easy: with a reputable virtual cloud provider (VPC), upgrading can be painless. The provider you select will manage the bulk of the workload.
- Reliability: you will remain current, with access to support from Microsoft (and/or your VPC) for assistance.
- Reduced risk: you will receive all security updates, which will help keep you protected from known security threats.
- It’s like having insurance: while it may cost more to pay for insurance than to not pay for it; having the support if/when it’s needed is worth the cost.
What Are Some Upgrade Options?
Option 1: Upgrade on your own. Should you choose to do the upgrade internally, you will need to buy a new license on-premise, and then buy new hardware, software and licenses for it. This is considered a capital expense (CAPEX), as it will be a large (typically a few thousand dollars) upfront cost. Below is a step-by-step idea of what to expect.
- Step 1: You’ll need new hardware for the environment. Typically, SQL or Windows products are CPU-intensive and take more power to run, so you’ll want to keep that in mind during this step. This is a downside and one of the reasons companies delay upgrading.
- Step 2: Acquire Windows licensing for Windows Server 2016. This can be done directly through Microsoft, or from a value-added reseller (VAR).
- Step 3: Acquire a new SQL license; this is like step 2 except this is the actual database license. (SQL is the app that runs the database.)
- Step 4: This one can be painful. For this step you will need to decide what apps connect to the database. This is where most of the time upgrading is spent, and why it takes many companies months to complete an upgrade.
- Step 5: Migrating your data. For this you will need to either budget billable hours with a consultant, or block out a large chunk of time on your internal IT calendars.
Option 2: Partner with a VPC provider. By partnering with a VPC provider, instead of having a CAPEX expense, it will be an operating expense (OPEX). This means that instead of a large, upfront cost, the bill will be paid monthly like a utility. In this option you are essentially “renting” an all-in-one SQL, Windows and hardware option. What is involved for this option? Well, steps 1-3 from above are taken care of by the VPC provider, and depending on what apps are required, they may even handle step 4. If you choose this option, below are some of the benefits you may receive when choosing a reputable cloud provider.
- Free setups
- Free upgrades
- Free data uploads (just watch for repatriation charges like AWS/Azure have)
- Extra work is included
Tips/Tricks for Saving Money with a VPC Provider:
- The more data you move, the more negotiation power you have with pricing.
- The longer the contract you sign, the cheaper/better quality of service you’ll get. As a committed customer, your VPC provider will be more committed to your business and striking up a partnership that is agreeable for both parties.
Questions to Ask Potential Providers:
- Can I get my data back?
- How much will it cost if I want my data back?
- What does the complete go-live time-frame look like from contract signing to deliverable?
- What support is available, and where is it based?
We know that this can be a confusing topic. So, if you’re unsure if your business needs to upgrade internally, or make the switch to a VPC, reach out. As Florida’s preferred cloud provider, we pride ourselves on our ability to help guide our clients and prospects on the journey that suits their business needs, not our bottom line. When you’re ready for an IT expert to walk you through the process, reach out.