Originally posted on Data Center POST

On April 16, 2016, extended support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 ends. As we become closer to the end-of-life, what are businesses risking by delaying migration?

SQL_Server_Migration (1)If a business has not migrated by that time and continues to run an outdated server, the implications can be dire: loss of access to critical security updates; higher costs to maintain legacy IT products; compliance issues due to obsolete infrastructure; critical applications running in an unsupported environment; and inability to upgrade outdated hardware.

More seriously, if there is an emergency situation and infrastructure goes down, there will be no one to call for help, and that creates a significant risk for a business.

Why would a business not have migrated by now?

For many, SQL Server 2005 insures their critical applications or data; it’s embedded in their day-to-day operations, so they continue to use it.

Some businesses need to migrate decades of data – multiple terabytes at one time – and are hesitant to even begin the process for fear that some data won’t migrate properly; others may have attempted a migration that failed, and they are afraid to try again. A new business may have never had to deal with a data migration, and fear of the unknown is keeping them from getting started.

Cost is another stumbling block; some businesses may feel like they need to choose expensive migration software or risk a different kind of cost in the form of data loss or unplanned downtime.

Our predicament at Vision Solutions was that we were in a complex environment, with older SQL databases supporting older applications that needed to be updated as well. We also had to consolidate data centers and legacy applications and migrate to a single environment, which created an additional complication. At the same time, we could not afford downtime.

What keeps you up at night when planning for large-scale migrations?

Downtime to critical infrastructure is a big one; in a scenario in which your customers need to get to your products and can’t, you’re hurting your business.

Another fear is loss of data integrity. If data do not synchronize correctly, the database hasn’t replicated, and even if core data are replicated, ancillary data – like user credentials and passwords – need to move over as well, and behave the same way after migration. If this doesn’t happen, the migration has failed.

There is also the fear of the unknown. If you’ve developed your own processes internally to deal with issues in your infrastructure, moving to a new server means you’re in uncharted territory.

What are the cost implications of migration software?

Migrations are a necessary expense for IT infrastructure developments, but the monetary cost can create trepidation. However, when looking at migration software and its overall cost, the entire context of the migration needs to be considered. This can include licensing costs; upgraded hardware; resource time required; cost of any downtime; and any migration software.

Some free software does not allow zero or near-zero downtime, and so the cost of downtime – which can be substantial, and can include costs incurred due to business disruption, lost revenue, end-user productivity and more – may trump any savings if a business cannot absorb that cost.

To read the full article, view it on the Data Center POST website here.