The Azure Carrot

Microsoft wants more people to move their database workloads to Azure. They are constantly adding new features, capabilities, even tools to help people move databases to some part of Azure. It’s working well, as the latest quarterly report shows tremendous growth in Azure revenue. We don’t know precisely how SQL Server or Azure SQL databases impact this, but I certainly see more and more customers moving relational workloads to the cloud. Some to Azure, some to other providers.

In an effort to entice people, Microsoft has a promotion that they were running in March, which was asking SQL Server 2012 customers to move to Azure and save with free extended security updates. They reiterated the promotion on July 12, when SQL Server 2012 went out of support. They calculate savings and promote benefits, which might be tangible and desirable to some of you. After all, not having a supported platform isn’t an option for some people.

I don’t know how I feel about this. While we recently had a security update for SQL Server 2012, I know that it’s an older platform and at this point, it’s 10 years past RTM. It is probably time to upgrade to a newer version, which should be 2019 if you can’t wait and SQL Server 2022 if you can wait until the end of the year. I can’t imagine that your workload from 2012 won’t run on 2019, but it’s possible there are some issues.

I’ve run older versions of SQL Server that weren’t supported and often didn’t worry. I knew what worked and what didn’t, and after a few years, it was unlikely that anything in the product would break. However, that was in an environment that was not regulated or certified, which wasn’t always the case. I have worked in places where we would upgrade whenever we got to the end of mainstream support as we weren’t interested in paying for extended support.

I also think that while SQL Server is very mature, and it’s possible that you don’t need new features, you do want a platform that is secure. That means you do want support and fast action if an exploit becomes published. There is also the case that we often want developers working on modern platforms, both because they can take advantage of better language constructs, but also because this helps retention. Try hiring for an all SQL Server 2012 environment v a SQL Server 2019 one. You might find people, but a lot of the talented ones would prefer to work on a modern platform, not a decade old one.

If you are running SQL Server 2012 (or 2008x) and considering the cloud, check out the promotion. It might help you make a decision on whether to upgrade locally or move to Azure.

Steve Jones

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About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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2 Responses to The Azure Carrot

  1. I’m no fan of Azure (I believe the Cloud should be another tool and not the be-all end-all solution to all computing needs) but props to them for this promotion and thank you for letting your readers know of it.

    As for SQl2012 (or 2008) our cloud based accounting software vendors is still using SQL 2012 and I’ve raised concerns about this several times over the last 2 years; since we moved our data from on-prem to their cloud only for it to fall on deaf ears. If we still had the data on-prem we would NOT still be on 2012.

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  2. way0utwest says:

    I think the cloud is incredible, but I respect other views. It is a tool, but a handy one. Can be $$$, but also can be very efficient with total ROI and from a tax basis.

    I think far too many vendors get afraid of running in 2012 (or any) compat mode on 2017 or 2019. For the most part, it just works. I would expect compat issues to be very rare.

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