I have worked with every version of SQL Server since it was first available from Microsoft on OS/2. Each version has improved the features, the stability, and the scalability, and I've looked forward to each change. In many of the companies I worked at, we had a fairly homogenous environment, with one or two versions to support. I think some of that was the timing of my employment dates with the version release dates. If I'd stayed longer at a few jobs, I think I might have ended up supporting three versions of SQL Server in a few places.
That seems to have changed, however with the long delay of SQL Server 2005, and then the very short delays for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2. Now it seems many companies have two or three versions at a minimum and might have 4 versions, with SQL Server 2000 servers still available. The last year on Twitter I've seen a number of DBAs noting that they are retiring SQL Server 2000 instances at a good clip, with a few people eliminating the version from their environments, but there are plenty of instances still out there.
This week I wanted to see what percentage of people are still supporting older versions. There seems to be less of a push to upgrade old servers, but we still install the latest version for newer servers. Supporting more versions may mean a higher cost of support for your infrastructure, so I decided to ask this question:
What's the oldest version of SQL Server you still support?
It would be good to know how many versions you are supporting, and if you have older versions (v6.5, v7, v2000), are they used in limited systems, such as keycard systems only. My intention is to try and get an understanding of the shape of the SQL Server community, and the types of work they do each day.
As SQL Server evolves from a core database engine and includes a wide variety of subsystems and features, I think there is less of a need to upgrade existing instances en masse. Instead targeting those applications that receive large benefits from the changes seems to make more sense. With a very stable engine and very few security problems, I think that companies will use each version longer and require their DBAs to support more versions at any one time. I am sure by the middle of 2010, we will have some DBAs supporting five versions of SQL Server in their companies, going back to SQL Server 2000.
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