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An opportunity for modernisation: SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 End of Support

End of support for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 is nigh. But it doesn’t have to be a negative. In fact, I believe end of support is a perfect opportunity to modernise. It’s a chance to look at your systems and ask: “Is there a better way to do this?”

Technology moves fast, and a lot has happened since SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 were introduced more than a decade ago. It’s time to do things differently, and end of support can provide the perfect justification internally for a strong business case to change your IT model and provide a service differently.

An opportunity for modernisation: SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 End of Support

I believe the future of IT is serverless computing. In the not too distant future, most companies will operate in such an environment - one where they just consume services and compute resources at scale.

With that in mind, and with EoS on us (SQL Server 2008 hits EoS in July, with Windows Server 2008 following in January 2020), we’re seeing increasing numbers of customers looking at software-as a-service (SaaS) or platform-as-a-service (PaaS), where your SQL Server workloads run as a hosted service, as replacements.

Because, here’s the thing, you could just do a lift and shift of your system into Microsoft Azure – and that will give you three years to think about things. But in three years’ time, will you be back in the same position again, having to think again about what to do with a service which is coming to the end of its life.

Why not take the opportunity now, and start reaping the benefits you can receive from moving to PaaS?

From SQL Server to Azure SQL

Moving your SQL 2008 workload to Azure SQL Database brings a number of benefits, including the inherent redundancy and servicing delivered by Microsoft. This enables you to drop database management, patching and the need to manage backups – these are all handled by the Azure platform, with the hardware and software owned, hosted and maintained by Microsoft.

It’s a great way to reduce your support costs, while also enabling you to scale up and down very quickly.

It’s also an evergreen service - you’ll never have to worry about having to upgrade again, because Microsoft updates the service continuously for you. That’s a big attraction for most of our customers who want to be freed from the hassles of keeping systems patched and upgraded.

The cloud is inherently evolving much more quickly than your on-premise systems ever could, and vendor investment in cloud technologies is overshadowing on-premise technology investment significantly.

This means over time (and we’re already seeing it in other products) cloud versions of systems are getting updates and new functionality before those same updates are available for on-premise systems. In future, it will absolutely be the case that database services in Azure will have features deployed to them before on-premises versions receive them.

PaaS also improves your ability to do testing and DevOps. You’re literally just ordering a new service and quickly spinning it up. That makes the DevOps cycle a lot easier than the traditional virtual machine or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) environment, where you have to spin up the operating system and database version you want to apply on top of that, and then apply all your applications as well.

From Windows 2008 Server to Azure

For customers using Windows 2008 Server, the news is just as good.

Windows 2008 Server is often used to provide a web service, and Azure’s Web Apps enable you to quickly load your web application and configure it.

You can also use Web App for Containers – a no footprint option, which enables you to package your application and all related dependencies in a container which is hosted on the Web App.

Customer success stories

Our customers are embracing EoS for Windows Server 2008 and SQL 2008 as a chance to modernise and innovate, with one of our customers sitting on an old 2008 environment before making the jump to Azure and PaaS.

The team here at Empired designed a PaaS architecture for their whole application and changed it to a very redundant, highly available system just by using Azure services such as Load Balancer, which provides redundancy across different systems and data centres.

It has freed the customer from having to patch, secure, backup and maintain the systems and the outcome has been a significant reduction in cost, which is also much easier to setup and maintain. They can now run DevOps through spinning up all of the services in isolation, as a service. It’s a lot quicker for them to create a demonstration environment for their customers to test, and it’s a lot easier and less involved.

In every case the modelling we’ve done with customers comparing PaaS and IaaS has shown PaaS to be the far more cost-effective option when you factor in total cost of ownership - including the management, backup, licensing.

Assess first

Of course, you can’t just drop everything into PaaS. Assessment is critical first to determine if a database or the services running on Windows Server are suitable for a PaaS environment. Doing an assessment upfront to make sure you’re really prepared can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

So if you’re ready to modernise your systems, talk to us about an assessment. We can tell you which systems are a great candidate for PaaS with minimal remediation required, and which will need a hand with some rearchitecting.

End of support doesn’t have to be a negative. Seize the opportunity to modernise and migrate workloads to Azure and PaaS.

Posted by: Jaen Snyman, National Business Manager Cloud Design and Integration | 27 June 2019

Tags: Cloud Platform, Data Analytics, Microsoft Azure, Data Migration, Microsoft SQL Server

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