Microsoft is poised to release new versions of several different products and technologies that have the potential to have a big, positive impact on the life of the average DBA, as long as you position yourself to take advantage of them properly. Intel has released the new Xeon 5600 series, and the Nehalem-EX is due to show up by the end of the month.
Windows Server 2008 R2 has been available since October 2009, and Microsoft has been hinting about Service Pack 1 (for both Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7), which means that is probably getting close to being released. SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 will be launched on May 12 and Visual Studio 2010 will be released on April 12. SQL Server 2008 R2 is still officially due to release “in the first half of 2010”, but it seems obvious that it will beat that deadline.
All of these developments can work synergistically to help make the case for intelligent server upgrades and consolidation efforts during the second half of 2010. It makes a lot of sense (to me at least) to look for opportunities to take advantage of this. Perhaps you have multiple, older database servers running SQL Server 2005 on Windows Server 2003, on hardware that is three or more years old. A new two socket server, running two Xeon 56xx processors, with 72GB of RAM and a good I/O subsystem has the horsepower to replace multiple older database servers.
Running Windows Server 2008 R2, along with SQL Server 2008 R2 on this new hardware is a great idea, since you will get better performance, better security and lots of new features that make it easier to manage your database instances in daily use. Depending on what you are trying to do, you can save a lot of money in licensing costs and reduce your support effort by making the right upgrade and consolidation moves.
Just in case you forgot, mainstream support for SQL Server 2005 SP2 ended on January 12, 2010, and mainstream support for SQL Server 2008 RTM will end on April 13, 2010. More details about SQL Server Support dates are listed here.