Microsoft reminds companies it is ending support for SQL Server 2005 in April

Internet Explorer won’t be the only outdated yet surprisingly resilient Microsoft software to bite the dust this year.

The company is reminding organizations that as of April 12, it will no longer be supporting database management system SQL Server 2005 – which, despite its age, Microsoft estimates is still used by up to 30 per cent of companies in Canada to store and retrieve sales data.

“It’s like an old car,” says Eduard Davidzhan, a data platform marketing manager with Microsoft. Many businesses continue to use the earlier software because it does the same job as the newer model, and for a lower price, but without realizing the cost of an emergency could eventually exceed their initial savings.

Now, after more than 10 years of support – the standard life cycle for Microsoft products, he notes – SQL Server 2005 has become something of a “jalopy,” Davidzhan claims, with outdated parts that make it too expensive to maintain.

End-of-support or end of life (EOL) can be a pain point for IT departments, particularly considering it typically means a replacement and upgrade process; the company notes that organizations should look at conducting a careful inventory audit of their IT environment using tools such at the Microsoft Assessment and Planning toolkit.

While the database workhorse will continue functioning after April 12, without regular security updates the businesses that rely on the decade-old SQL Server 2005 to store and retrieve sales data could find their databases – and the sensitive information often stored on them – vulnerable to hacking, Davidzhan says, adding that Microsoft has seen a surge in customers upgrading to the most recent version, SQL Server 2014, as a result.

There are other security-related benefits to purchasing the new database program, he says: For example, the 2014 edition includes encryption options that simply didn’t exist in 2005.

Modern versions also perform significantly faster, with the 2014 edition running up to 13 times faster than the 2005 edition, he says, and allow business owners to better analyse their own database information. Davidzhan notes that businesses still relying on SQL Server 2005 will have more than one upgrade to choose from – they can purchase SQL Server 2014, or upgrade to Microsoft’s cloud service, Azure SQL Database.

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