I appreciate your blog post, both the information about Moore's passing and your perspective on why it appears that companies are keeping up with new SQL Server versions.
I don't disagree completely with what you wrote, but I have a different perspective/take on things at least in part. I'm a big believer in change that has a net benefit. I'm against change for the sake of change or a net cost. Yes, things are a changing fast, but if those 'improvements' in SQL Server do not provide a net benefit for the business needs of the particular business in question, then upgrading is not warranted for that business -- except in the case of aging hardware (which is not the issue if everything is in the cloud as you mentioned) or if MS forces the upgrade by no longer supporting the older version. It's those last two issues which drove my agency's last upgrade from 2008 R2 to 2019 a couple years ago--not because there was a net benefit to the upgrade in terms of meeting our relatively modest business needs. I can't see how I could justify an upgrade to SQL Server 2022 any time in the next few years.
So, a third reason so many companies may have SQL Server versions that are so recent is that they were "forced" to upgrade due to: a) needing to replace old hardware (so why not upgrade then) and/or b) needing to move away for security reasons from SQL Server versions which will no longer be supported by MS.
I also suspect that there is a sampling bias in Brent Ozar's data share. I would guess that companies which can afford Brent's services have more complex needs compared to companies who can't afford a top-notch consultant. Hence, I would expect Brent's company to be working with businesses which have more recent versions of SQL Server. Please don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of Brent and appreciate what he does for the SQL Server community. I'm just wondering about how helpful that post is in telling us the distribution of SQL Server versions out there.
There was a SQL Server Central blog post not too long ago where the author (sorry, I forgot his name) essentially made the case that if DBAs aren't using the latest and greatest features in SQL Server, then they must not actually understand those features or must not have proper imagination for the business needs or both. I understand the point that was being made, and I'm sure it is true in some cases.
However, I think that the side of the equation that is being missed in that previous blog post and in this one is that a feature is only as beneficial as the business need that it meets. I personally found many great improvements in SQL Server in versions up thru SQL Server 2008 R2. With each of our previous upgrades, I would immediately take advantage of changes to meet our business needs. I've found some nice changes in SQL Server 2019, but the improvements in 2019 over 2008 R2 for *our* business needs are no where near the Moore's law projection. I can't say that the upgrade was worth the cost. We just had to do it. (For my own career/personal benefit, I'm glad we upgraded.)
To explain the point in car terms: Suppose the top speed limit in the country anywhere is say 80 mph (miles per hour), and the driver never intends to go above 90 mph, maybe 100 mph in an absolutely emergency. If the driver already has a car in good working order which goes 150 mph, it is not really a benefit to pay for a new car just because the new car gets 200 mph. The need is already being met perfectly with the old car.
So I guess the question is: Are humanity's business needs increasing in scope and complexity as much as our technology solutions are improving? I have no doubt that for some businesses, this is absolutely true. I'm just wondering how many businesses really need to upgrade SQL Server all the time in order to take advantage of features which would meet unfulfilled business needs.
I want to end by repeating that I liked and appreciated your post. I don't think you are wrong. I just think the situation is more complicated. Your post got me to thinking and moved me to post a reply. 🙂