To SQL Server 2012 and Beyond – What to Know Before You Upgrade

Microsoft has been releasing newer versions of SQL with greater frequency, prompting DBAs to constantly ask themselves: “Is it time to upgrade?” Once that answer is yes, they have a lot of information to parse through to see what is right for their unique needs and finances.

A recent DBTA webcast featuring Andy McDermid, principal SQL Server DBA at Datavail, covered everything that an organization needs to consider when contemplating a SQL Server upgrade.

When considering a SQL Server upgrade, organizations have two choices: an in-place upgrade or a side-by-side upgrade. An in-place upgrade means that everything at the hardware or operating system levels remain the same while an installer upgrades SQL Server. A side-by-side upgrade requires a DBA to set up a new system and work to migrate anything important from the old server to the new server.

Each option comes with its own unique advantages/disadvantages. “There’s one critical topic that could dictate the best choice and that is licensing. Microsoft changed the way SQL server’s license as of 2012,” explained McDermid. Before 2012, organizations were able to purchase by the socket, but after 2012, organizations had to purchase by the core. Purchasing by the core becomes more expensive after a certain threshold is reached. 

Once an organization has made the decision to go through with an upgrade, it is important to go through a checklist to prepare for the change. For example, when performing a side-by-side upgrade it is important to configure the legacy server, configure the destination server, and migrate server level objects. Also, it is important to remember to back up and restore your SQL server as well. Once the upgrade is complete, check the backups for the user/system databases and perform a health check for all of your systems. “Going from 2008 to 2012 is a big step. We just have to look at it as an opportunity and set up environments the best we can for 2014, 2016, and so on,” stated McDermid.

To watch a replay of the webinar, go here.

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