Is It Worth Upgrading to SQL Server 2008

  • wow, It's a bad notice, I heard in a conference that the strategy of Microsoft is release a new product version each 3 years and release service pack each year.

  • Another reason to upgrade is Microsoft support of virtual datacentres. If you are running on Windows Server 2008 & SQL Server 2008 and you need support from Microsoft then they will give full support to your virtual environment. (Hyper V or VMware) Currently, they may ask you to recreate the problem in a physical environment before they will get involved.

  • We have a 2005 cluster, and two standalone 2005 boxes for reporting, as well as a few 2000 boxes. All are enterprise version. The 2005 boxes do not seem to have a really compelling reason to upgrade at this time; however, the 2000 boxes were slated for upgrade to 2005. At this point, we're looking to leapfrog and go straight to 2008 next year...I'm sure that'll be just in time for the next release of SQL Server - so we'll be behind the curve one more time!

  • skjoldtc makes a good point. Having a blanket policy on which version thorughout the organisation isn't good. If an application can deliver better ROI by upgrading then it's winner.

  • Good article and with versions coming every 3 years, they're close enough that I'm not sure you gain anything from having forklift upgrades of all servers. Kilmanjaro, the next version or partial version is slated for the first half of 2010, which is really only 18 months!

    I'm sure some of those features will trickle to Standard, but for now, be sure you read carefully that's not in there. Quite a few cool features are in Enterprise only. However 2008 does seem like a good product and if you use some things, like Full-text, need images (A great white paper from Paul Randal here: ) and want to try PBM, it's worth considering.

    I also wouldn't upgrade to 2005 right now. I'd go directly to 2008, and push vendors to certify it ASAP. With the versions coming quicker, I wouldn't be surprised to see the support policy drop to 6 years for mainstream versions.

  • There might be another good reason to upgrade to 2008.

    First let me say that I'm not on top of all the latest developments.

    Did M$ fix all the 2005 bugs? Could 2008 better just because of these fixes? (assuming 2008 is more bug free than 2005)

    Alvin Ramard
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  • We are using mostly 2000 Express or MSDE and quite happy with it. We are concerned about support and the fact that the program is 8 years old already. So we decided to upgrade, we choose 2008 mostly because it was newer and we reasoned that going straight to 2008 would save us an upgrade later?

    Was that a bad decision?

  • I have to admit to being surprised at some of the new stuff that is not in Standard edition, but I do believe that SQL Server 2008 does provide compelling new features. (These are just the ones that I am concerned with, there are more especially in mgmt and performance areas.

    * Intellisense (as mentioned before)

    * Better date and time fields, including just date, just time, and datetimeoffset. This is a big enhancement for application developers

    * Geometry/geography datatypes and spatial functions (although I have to admit I am working on a project with geolocation, and dreaded having to work with lat/long as doubles and writing trigonometry in t-sql for proximity queries).

    * Debugging in SSMS

    * Filestream storage

    * MERGE statement.


  • ** For full disclosure, I'm a group program manager on the SQL Server Manageability Team.

    In my 15+ years of experience in IT and software development I’ve never found the Holy Grail answer to “should I upgrade to the next version of not?” It doesn’t matter what software is the context of the question, the answer always comes down to what your needs are and does the new version satisfy those needs. For people running SQL2K they may need mainstream support which becomes their motivation for upgrading.

    For a side-by-side comparison of features by edition in SQL2K8 see this Books Online page:

    I think you’ll find that SQL2K8 has a bunch of value in every edition. And don’t forget that Express and Express Advanced are free. Yes, they have restrictions on memory and CPU usage and database size but why shouldn’t they? Microsoft is a for profit company, they can’t give away all of their software.

    A few of my favorite Database Engine features in SQL2K8 are Policy-Based Management (available in all Editions – although it has limited functionality on Express), Data Collector (available in all but Express and Express Advanced), PowerShell integration (available in all Editions) and the Auditing Framework (available in all Editions). BTW: this article incorrectly stated that Policy-Based Management is only available in Enterprise Edition.

    Take stock of your current situation, learn about the new release (from a reliable source) and reach your own conclusion if upgrading makes sense for you.



  • sql 2005 already has 10 (!) cumulative updates after the 2nd SP and SP3 is not even there.

    the code of sql server was re-writen but was debuged on the production systems world-wide

  • 2005 SE to 2008 SE = not worth it if you don't need 2008 features (such as Spatial, FILESTREAM)

    As for developers or DBA's, 2008 provides cool features

    Developer: IntelliSense, MERGE (instead of UPSERT), inline variable assignment

    DBA: Activity Monitor, Policy, better search & filter & display in Object Explorer

    I do wish Backup Compression is included by default 🙁

    I'd agree to jump from 2000 to 2008 SE though

    SQLServerNewbieMCITP: Database Administrator SQL Server 2005
  • I like intellisense. This feature alone is a big win for me because it kills many design "i"s and "t"s issues up front. Granted this feature is available in side products, but should have been included when VB6 hit the market.

    Also, I heavily use SSIS/SSAS/SSRS, and am thrilled with these improvements, although I wish there were more.

    Yes, I can build my own building blocks, but nice to have some canned ones for you, to ease the dev curve.

    And since we are in the process of buying new now, 2008 is a no-beans decision.

  • You have a few good points, but I think the improvements are quite nice on the development side. Bringing in Intellisense is long overdue as is the addition of the "Merge" command. Some of the other improvements to T-SQL are worth noting and the fact that SQL Server 2008 was designed with Linq in mind and 2005 was not is worth noting if you use Linq.

    I too certainly wish more of the enterprise features were in Standard, but the improvements are substantial even without them.

    Timothy A Wiseman
    SQL Blog:

  • Intellisense is GREAT; while it is something that has been available with 3rd party tools before it really is quicker and more complete when provided natively.

    I think that the best improvements come in making the development more like other languages.

    Running your T-SQL in debug mode or trying and catching exceptions.

    If you have ever used any of SQL's programmability features like triggers, or stored procedures these make development far quicker. Handling errors in the database also make it so that it can be used as part of the application code instead of just some tables to put something into.

    If you are maintaining a legacy product sure go ahead stay in SQL-2000/2005 but be prepared for other people to be able to do your work in half the time. Also, if development tools do not excite you; look for your job to be replaced by a script if all you do is back up and restore databases you are not necessary.

  • Hi,

    I am not going to upgrade to SQL2008 before Cumulative patch #2 which MS said will fix a show stopper bug I found when testing SQL2008 RTM.

    I am glad I tested SQL2008 on a sand box copy of my databases. I avoided the bad surprise of breaking a development server.

    The bug that stopped me is that the new ADO Net data provider which replace the ADO Net provider in SQL2005 will not work when you pull data from Oracle.The numeric data type is broken. When the patch comes in I will again give it a try and find if any other remaining bug would be a show stopper. if the patch comes too close to Kilimanjaro, I will simply skip SQL2008 and keep my energy to test Kilimanjaro. My job next month, Test the latest cumulative patch for SQL2005, 2005 is very stable in our environment however the new patches fixes a couple issues, namely in cubes. I am now very careful with these patches, SP's and new versions, I had too many bad surprises. Also, My job is not to test and debug MS software, my job is to create business added value by providing BI solutions.

    BI Guy

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