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Sql Server 2008 - To upgrade or not to upgrade Expand / Collapse
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Posted Friday, February 12, 2010 10:37 AM
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Before I ask my question, I would like to give you some background.

Background
I am a programmer in a small company. I am also the DBA. I was not appointed the DBA because I am qualified to be a DBA. I was given the task because I was the only one on staff who had ever worked with a relational database, T-SQL or SQL. In otherwords the company calls me a DBA, but I don't call myself one.

The project that I am in charge of uses Sql Server 2005 as well as ASP.NET 2.0 and C#. I have been given the task of re designing my application so that it can run under ASP.NET 3.5.

It is up to me to decide if I should migrate from SQL Server 2005 to 2008. I am in the process of learning the new features of 2008. At this point I don't know all of the new features but I do like the new 'Date' only datatype. I am not sure if this new feature is important enough to upgrade.

Questions

1. Is SQL Server 2008 stable?
2. Is there a tool that I could use to upgrade my existing 2005 databases to 2008?
3. In general terms do queries run faster (I know this question is hard to answer)?
4. What headaches or gotcha's should I be aware of?
5. Forgetting about the fact that I would like to use the new data types, is it worth the effort to upgrade?

I know that I need to read more about and learn 2008, I just don't want to invest that time now if the upgrade is not worth the effort.

Thanks

Post #864774
Posted Friday, February 12, 2010 10:51 AM


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1. Yes, no major issues I've seen reported here in 18 months since RTM.
2. The setup program for 2008 will do this. You can grab an eval, use a VM or separate instance to test
3. Yes and no. There was work done on the query optimizer, but will it help you? No idea. Depends on your code and what you're looking for. Lots of T-SQL enhancements are there, but you'd have to learn them and decide if they help your queries.
4. Nothing major. This was a new version, but it is, IMHO, SS2K5 with things bolted on for the most part. No core changes that are significant. Probably improvements to the SS2K5 engine, but not a major rewrite (like SS2K5 was for SS2K)
5. So hard to answer. I would say this. At this point SS2K5 is getting close to EOL. So in a year you'll be thinking of moving anyway to the next version, or a new version, to make sure you have support/patches. Or maybe not. If SS2K5 is stable for you, maybe you run it. I know plenty of people running SS2K still.

SQL Server 2008 R2 is coming out in May, but it will have a price increase, and most of the SS2K8 -> R2 changes are BI related. Data warehousing type changes. That may or may not matter. However if you're paying for an upgrade, it's essentially SS2K8 and you could plan on moving to that over the summer and then you'd have a long lifecycle of support for that product.

I tend not to upgrade if I don't need to, and typically have looked to skip versions since it's a lot of $$$







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Post #864780
Posted Friday, February 12, 2010 11:18 AM
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Steve Jones - Editor (2/12/2010)
1. Yes, no major issues I've seen reported here in 18 months since RTM.
2. The setup program for 2008 will do this. You can grab an eval, use a VM or separate instance to test
3. Yes and no. There was work done on the query optimizer, but will it help you? No idea. Depends on your code and what you're looking for. Lots of T-SQL enhancements are there, but you'd have to learn them and decide if they help your queries.
4. Nothing major. This was a new version, but it is, IMHO, SS2K5 with things bolted on for the most part. No core changes that are significant. Probably improvements to the SS2K5 engine, but not a major rewrite (like SS2K5 was for SS2K)
5. So hard to answer. I would say this. At this point SS2K5 is getting close to EOL. So in a year you'll be thinking of moving anyway to the next version, or a new version, to make sure you have support/patches. Or maybe not. If SS2K5 is stable for you, maybe you run it. I know plenty of people running SS2K still.

SQL Server 2008 R2 is coming out in May, but it will have a price increase, and most of the SS2K8 -> R2 changes are BI related. Data warehousing type changes. That may or may not matter. However if you're paying for an upgrade, it's essentially SS2K8 and you could plan on moving to that over the summer and then you'd have a long lifecycle of support for that product.

I tend not to upgrade if I don't need to, and typically have looked to skip versions since it's a lot of $$$


Thanks so much for the speedy response. I do realize that some of the questions were hard to answer, so I appreciate you trying. I am glad that you mentioned the price increase. I had not even thought about the price. While price is not important to me, it is to my company.

Thanks again
Post #864804
Posted Friday, February 12, 2010 11:28 AM
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If you are having difficulty convincing others of the need to upgrade, it might be worth adding that Microsoft are now withdrawing support for SQL 2005 SP2.

That is they are counting down (it will take some time yet) to withdrawing support for SQL 2005.

As an aside, (under the heading of yet another software project muck-up) I remember (if I recall correctly) that the London Stock Exchange (allegedly) went live with their platform (that used SQL 2000) not all that long ago after Microsoft had withdrawn support for SQL 2000.

It is always worth forward planning it seems, and developing against what Microsoft will (still) be supporting when the project is (eventually) released (over-budget and over-due).
Post #864813
Posted Friday, February 12, 2010 11:32 AM


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You might want to download and use:

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Advisor
Brief Description
Download the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Advisor. Upgrade Advisor analyzes instances of SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 to help you prepare for upgrades to SQL Server 2008.


At:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=F5A6C5E9-4CD9-4E42-A21C-7291E7F0F852&displaylang=en

Also refer to
SQL Server Database Engine Backward Compatibility

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143532.aspx

Another item
ALTER DATABASE Compatibility Level (Transact-SQL)
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb510680.aspx

And then to show your company that you are budget conscious purchase SQL Server Developer Edition, although it can NOT be used for production, it would make a good sandbox for you to test your databases. It is available from Amazon.com for less that $50 (USD).

Hope this gets you started .



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Post #864817
Posted Friday, February 12, 2010 11:34 AM


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You are welcome, and I'm less concerned about support these days. The products are fairly mature, and most of the issues are raised in the first 18 months. As of now MS is considering not putting out SP4 for SS2K4, despite a steady list of CUs since then. While people would like an SP, there isn't a pressing need as the code is stable.

There are lots of people that are still on SS2K and see no reason to move. Until they run into hardware issues and OS issues (might have issues installing SS2K on Windows 2008 R2 or later), they have no reason to upgrade. With VMs, some people might never upgrade.







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Post #864820
Posted Friday, February 12, 2010 11:41 AM
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Regarding the 'Is SQL 2008 stable?' question ...

When SQL 2008 was released, I was quite struck by the McLaren whitepaper published on the Microsoft site, detailing how they'd been using the Filestream functionality in the Beta releases for reporting on their in-race telemetery.

For a major and high-profile engineering company like them to rely on this struck me as a big vote of confidence in the platform.
Post #864828
Posted Friday, February 12, 2010 1:13 PM
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Depending on your circumstances (i.e. whether your servers are hosting 3rd party systems or database supporting applications developed by your company etc.), it can be worth going through the list of deprecated features for both SQL 2008 and future versions.

See
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143729.aspx

If you can remove features that will be removed in future releases now, this will help smooth future releases as well.




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