Good Luck is Needed with Old Versions

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Today we have a guest editorial from Grant Fritchey as Steve is away on his sabbatical.

I’ve been extremely lucky in my career. I’ve either been in a job that required me to keep up with the latest technology, or I’ve worked for organizations that wanted to keep up with the latest technology. So, as each, shiny, new bit of functionality was unveiled, I had the opportunity to learn it and put it to work.

That’s not the situation for everyone.

There are people out there still struggling with most of their SQL Server instances on SQL Server 2008. I even ran into a person a couple of years ago who had several thousand instances of SQL Server 7 still running. I worked for an organization that lurked on eBay looking to buy old hardware in order to keep systems built in the 1970s running rather than take the time and trouble to upgrade those systems.

So, I get it. You’re just not going to upgrade because, if it ain’t broke, why go to the time, trouble, and cost of fixing it? Why even bother upgrading at all? SQL Server 2008 is out of support, but it works. Windows 7 just recently was removed from support, but it works. Can’t you just run these things forever? Go to eBay and buy old hardware like my former employer if you have to.

I suppose, for some, that will work. You’ll have SQL Server 2008 running for another 20 years or so, never getting a fully functional Extended Events suite of tools. However, for the vast majority of people, not only is this plan doomed to failure, but it’s probably going to fail sooner rather than later. A security vulnerability is going to be discovered and exploited at your cost. A new set of hardware is going to have incompatible drivers right after a failure of the old hardware. Something is going to happen, and now, instead of a planned upgrade, you’re going into emergency mode.

I do understand not upgrading just because the new shiny has arrived. It’s not a fun position because the new shiny is new and shiny. However, it’s a perfectly sensible approach. Upgrade when you have a clear need and a viable path. On the other hand, I have a tough time understanding why you would refuse to upgrade once it becomes a dangerous proposition. Please, take a moment and tell me why rolling the dice and planning on good luck is the more sensible approach.

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