Microsoft SQL Server 2012 – Time to Say Goodbye

Extended support expires in just a few months time, so May Turnbull takes a look at what the options are going forward.

Published on 31st March 2022

July this year marks the expiry of the extended support on Microsoft’s SQL Server 2012 product. This just shows you what happens when you blink – 10 years go by! So what does this mean? Well, according to Microsoft’s Fixed Lifecycle Policy this means that:

  • Non-security updates will be no longer available.
  • Security updates will only be available through the Extended Security Update (ESU) Program.

The ESU is intended as a last resort for customers and it includes critical security updates for up to 3 years once the product reaches the end of its life.

There might be a Get Out of Jail Free card here though. Previously, SQL Server 2008/R2 customers were allowed to move their ‘as is’ workloads to Azure Virtual Machines (IaaS) to have free access to Extended Security Updates. The hope is that SQL Server 2012/R2 customers will be afforded the same option.

As you plan for your next steps with regards to these databases, you essentially have three options:

  1. Upgrade to a supported version
  2. Potentially migrate these databases to Azure Virtual Machines
  3. Purchase Extended Security Updates through a volume licensing agreement

If you are leaning towards the first option, then I would 100% advise a review project as part of this consideration. Where you:

  • Review all candidates for upgrade, consulting with business owners and taking function into consideration before qualifying.
  • Amalgamate where possible. SQL Server licensing is based on the instance count and not the number of databases within that instance, so identifying candidates for consolidation prior to upgrade will save money on expensive database licenses.
  • Take a minute to think about the future and what licensing needs to be applied by the business as a whole alongside growth expectations and infrastructure changes planned. Licensing a SQL Clustered Hypervisor environment with SQL Server Enterprise with SA for unlimited virtualization might work out more cost effective than licensing individual VMs with a 4 core minimum requirement in the long run.

There are great companies like EasySAM out there to perform and assist on such projects and to provide valuable advice moving forward. EasySAM in fact will be releasing some SQL Server Audit specials to support businesses as they approach this milestone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or validation!

Written by:

May Turnbull



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