On-Premises Strategies for SQL Server End of Life

Navigate the complexities of SQL Server end-of-life and key considerations from our leading experts at Velosio .

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    Future-Proofing Your Database: On-Premises Strategies for SQL Server End of Life 

    As Microsoft phases out support for older versions of SQL Server, businesses worldwide are encountering a critical crossroads in their data management strategies. Faced with SQL Server end of life scenarios, the decision to either upgrade to the latest on-premises version, SQL Server 2022, or opt for Extended Security Updates (ESU) becomes pivotal. This juncture presents not just a technical challenge, but an opportunity to realign database strategies with current and future business needs. In this exploration, we delve into these two primary on-premises options, evaluating their benefits, challenges, and the strategic implications they hold for your organization’s database infrastructure. 

    Please Note: Velosio & Microsoft recommend moving to a modern cloud platform. You can find more information about those options here. Velosio will always be able to support you, even if you stay with on-premises options.  

    Option 1: Upgrading to SQL Server 2022 

    Embracing the Latest SQL Server Version

    With the end of support for earlier versions of SQL Server, organizations are prompted to reevaluate their database infrastructure strategies. Upgrading to SQL Server 2022 presents a forward-thinking solution, aligning businesses with the latest developments in database technology and ensuring a consistent, advanced environment for their data management needs. 

    The Strategic Path to SQL Server 2022: Advantages of Upgrading

    • Latest Technology: SQL Server 2022 brings a host of enhancements in performance, scalability, high availability, and security, marking a significant technological leap forward. 
    • Control and Customization: Retain full control over your infrastructure, enjoying the flexibility to tailor features and scalability to fit your specific requirements. 
    • Familiar Operational Environment: For businesses upgrading from older versions of SQL Server, the transition to SQL Server 2022 offers a familiar operational landscape, simplifying the upgrade process. 
    • Versatility Across Applications: Ideal for a broad range of database applications, from Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) systems to complex data warehousing. 
    • Reduced Risk for Database Applications: By maintaining compatibility levels, existing applications are shielded from disruptive functional and performance changes. 

    Key Considerations

    • Investment and Ongoing Costs: Upgrading involves a significant initial investment and continuous management costs, encompassing both hardware and software components. 
    • Potential for Downtime: The upgrade process may incur downtime, with inherent risks present during in-place upgrade procedures. 
    • Complex Upgrade Scenarios: Organizations running older, unsupported versions of Windows Server may face added complexity, as newer SQL Server versions may not be compatible. This necessitates operating system upgrades, introducing additional risks and potential costs, and often making side-by-side migrations a more viable, albeit costly, alternative. 

    A Step Towards Future-Ready Database Management

    Upgrading to SQL Server 2022 is more than a mere update; it’s a strategic move towards aligning your business with the latest in database technology. While the journey involves careful consideration of costs, potential downtime, and complexity, the long-term benefits of enhanced performance, security, and scalability are undeniable. 

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    For organizations seeking to navigate the intricacies of upgrading to SQL Server 2022, expert guidance is invaluable. Velosio, with its profound expertise in database technologies and infrastructure management, stands ready to assist businesses in making this crucial transition. Our team can help streamline the upgrade process, ensuring a smooth, efficient transition to SQL Server 2022. 

    Ready to upgrade to SQL Server 2022? Contact Velosio for professional assistance and elevate your database infrastructure to the next level. 


    Option 2: Extended Security Updates (ESU) 

    For businesses not yet ready to upgrade their SQL Server or migrate to Azure SQL, subscribing to Extended Security Updates (ESU) offers a viable solution. ESUs provide critical security updates for up to three years after the end of support, ensuring continued protection for your SQL Server infrastructure. 

    Understanding Extended Security Updates (ESU): ESU Availability

    • ESUs are available for SQL Server instances running in various environments: 
    • SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines: ESUs are free and enabled by default. 
    • SQL Server on-premises or hosted environments using Azure services: Free on Azure Stack HCI and Azure Stack Hub. 
    • SQL Server on-premises or hosted, connected to Azure Arc: ESUs are available as a monthly subscription with automated updates. 
    • SQL Server on-premises or hosted, not connected to Azure Arc: Purchase ESUs through the Volume Licensing Service Center and manually register instances on the Azure portal. 

    Key Benefits of ESUs

    • Continued Protection: Receive critical security updates, safeguarding your systems against vulnerabilities. 
    • Flexibility: Opt for a subscription model with Azure Arc, offering the flexibility to cancel anytime. 
    • Automated Updates: Azure Arc-connected instances benefit from automated deployment of patches. 
    • Free for Azure VMs: ESUs are free for SQL Server instances running on Azure Virtual Machines. 

    Considerations for ESU Subscription

    • Limited Support: ESUs focus on security updates and do not include technical support unless covered by additional support contracts. 
    • Subscription Management: ESUs require management, especially for non-Azure environments where updates must be manually downloaded and deployed. 
    • Costs for Non-Azure Environments: On-premises or hosted environments not using Azure services may incur costs for ESU subscriptions. 

    ESU Deployment and Support

    • Azure Workloads: ESUs are automatically applied through SQL Server update channels on Azure services. 
    • On-Premises or Hosted Environments: For environments connected to Azure Arc, ESUs are billed through Azure subscriptions. For non-Azure-connected environments, ESUs must be manually downloaded and deployed. 
    • Technical Support: Available through additional active support contracts like Software Assurance or Azure Support plans. 

    ESU Subscription via Azure Arc

    Azure Arc allows for automated ESU deployment, offering a streamlined process for on-premises or hosted environments. The subscription can be managed through the Azure portal, Azure PowerShell, or Azure CLI. 

    Billing and Subscription Management

    • Billing Process: Billing for ESUs varies based on the SQL Server version and the timing of the subscription. Charges may include billback for coverage from the start of the ESU period. 
    • Subscription Cancellation: ESU subscriptions can be cancelled at any time, stopping future charges. 
    • Invoice Linking: For volume licensing customers, linking the ESU invoice to Azure Arc instances is necessary to access updates. 

    Secure Your Legacy SQL Server Systems

    ESUs offer a critical lifeline for businesses using SQL Server versions that have reached end of support. They provide essential security updates, helping maintain system integrity while planning for future upgrades or migrations. 

    For organizations seeking to navigate the complexities of ESU subscriptions and deployment, professional guidance can be invaluable. At Velosio, we assist businesses in managing their ESU subscriptions, ensuring their SQL Server environments remain secure and compliant. 

    Looking to secure your SQL Server with Extended Security Updates? Contact Velosio for expert assistance in managing and deploying ESUs effectively. 

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