SQLServerCentral Editorial

What will convince you to upgrade?


You’ve probably heard that SQL Server 2022 is on the way, and, assuming the name doesn’t change, it will be later this year. That is great news for folks in the data platform community as features and improvements they’ve been hoping for are added. I’m not currently supporting any production SQL Servers, but I’m still happy to hear about these features and will probably put together some presentations about them once there is a public preview.

Upgrades can be a lot of work. I don’t mean the actual upgrade process, but planning and testing can take time and effort. Many shops don’t upgrade every edition, skipping one or two versions each time.

I’ve always preferred to upgrade with a fresh install on a new VM over upgrading in place. That new VM (or hardware in the old days) can be used for testing until it’s time to migrate the databases and jobs. I haven’t done a SQL Server upgrade in a DevOps organization, so I hope that the process is easier than manual migrations.

Microsoft has announced quite a few exciting new features with SQL Server 2022. My favorite is the parameter sensitive plan optimization that’s part of intelligent query processing. This feature allows the cache to save more than one plan for the same query when one plan isn’t ideal for all parameter values. Yes, this takes care of some parameter sniffing issues, especially when the plan could be contain a clustered index scan or a nonclustered index seek with a key lookup. I’ve seen this scenario cause lots of performance issues for my customers back when I was consulting.

Some of the other announcements include improvements in Query Store, tempdb, and security, the ability to use an Azure Managed Instance for failover from an instance, and Azure Synapse Link for real-time analytics.

There is probably something for everyone in this upcoming release, but would one or two favorite features convince you to upgrade? Back in the early years after 2012 was released, a couple of folks told me that my T-SQL window function session convinced them to upgrade once they saw the LAG function. So, there might be some shops that need a key function to solve an issue and will adopt SQL Server 2022 soon after general availability.

In the meantime, I encourage you to watch the announcements and download the public preview once it’s available. The features in this release of SQL Server just might convince you to do the work it takes to upgrade.