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Shocking stories from the battlefields of Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 EOS

How confident are you about how many and what systems you have running in your environment and, in particular, the number of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 instances you have?

Shocking stories from the battlefields of Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 EOS

Very often, we find our customers underestimate the numbers.

Case in point: One of our customers, in Western Australia, called us in to do a Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 assessment ahead of end of support for the two platforms.

The customer has a complex environment and had a fairly new IT team in place. They also had an out of date configuration management database and weren’t at all confident it included a full record of all their systems and services.

They wanted an assessment to enable them to fully understand the risks they faced with end of support rapidly approaching, and to enable them to begin addressing those risks.

To say they were surprised at the results is an understatement.

They were confident they had only around 40 to 50 instances of SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008. The actual figures came in at well over 100: more than ten percent of their entire environment was sitting on soon to be unsupported systems.

Bear in mind that on SQL the impact is actually much greater than the actual figure itself, as you have multiple databases on each SQL instance so multiple applications are impacted by each instance.

You might think it wouldn’t happen to you, but it’s not at all uncommon and we’ve seen it many a time.

Different strokes…

For this particular customer, we now have a program in place to address the situation. Like most programs, it includes multiple workstreams.

They have other newer versions of SQL Server in their environment, so in some cases the databases are being moved to a SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2016 environments.

That’s a good option when there are not many databases on a server, but if you’re talking about a lot of systems on the one server, it’s often easier just to move the server.

Asking the hard questions

The end of support is a great opportunity to really take a hard look at whether a server should still be in use. Ask yourself ‘can I remove all the applications or databases off the server and then retire the server?’ If the answer is no on both of those, we have to address in a different way – and that is moving to Azure, in which case we need to decide whether to go to a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model or whether it needs to be a virtual machine.

The virtual machine move is the quickest option because you don’t have to dig into the dependencies and whether it can or can’t do PaaS. If time is of the essence and the biggest driver is just to get it supported to remove the risk, and you’ll address it later from a transformation point of view, then a lift and shift is a quick way to address the issue.

In other cases, our customer has the luxury of time to move to PaaS and are embracing that option.

The reality is it’s not one size fits all. You will need to be pragmatic and ask some tough questions around retiring servers. Your first question should always be “Can we retire this service? Do we really need it?” And it’s not enough to just ask and give a quick answer. Sometimes you need to really challenge the answer because in some cases servers are just there because they’re legacy systems and, in reality, they can be replaced quite easily by something else you already have in your environment. Sometimes the answer really is right in front of you.

Reaping the benefits

For this particular customer the benefits extend beyond having a fully supported environment. Through the assessment and migration plan, they have full knowledge of their environment. It’s also kickstarted their Azure transformation and they are now actively looking at non-2008 systems that can be moved to Azure.

Ultimately, end of support for these systems is bringing this customer modernisation, innovation and some big cost savings.

Are you ready to embrace the same benefits?

Here at Empired, we’ve got the experience with migrations to guide you through the process so contact us today….

Posted by: Jaen Snyman, National Business Manager Cloud Design and Integration | 30 July 2019

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

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