Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 has reached end of life. The software is dwindling in popularity, but still holds significant market share.
The official Microsoft statement reads: "If you are still running SQL Server 2005 after 12 April 2016 you will no longer receive security updates. Now is the time to upgrade to SQL Server 2014 and Azure SQL Database to achieve breakthrough performance, maintain security and compliance, and optimise your data platform infrastructure."
Despite this, many companies have opted not to bother with the upgrade, not least because it's often difficult for CTOs to explain the need for new software bundles to CFOs who don't understand what the product does.
The move is compounded by the fact that, in a rare show of compassion at the time, Microsoft offered an 'Express' version free of charge. The product was launched in London in October 2005 by Bill Gates himself, but times have moved on and SQL servers have to be bigger, bolder and leaner than ever before.
The latest version has been benchmarked at 13 times the size of its 2005 predecessor. Microsoft offers an Assessment and Planning Toolkit to help customers with the transition.
Despite the advice from Microsoft, many customers have yet to upgrade from Microsoft Server 2003, which reached end-of-life in autumn last year and left businesses open to hack attacks.
Adrian Foxall, CEO of application migration firm Camwood, warned that a lackadaisical approach to migration could prove the undoing of many a firm.
"While we’d like to hope that most organisations have learned their lesson from the end of Windows XP and Server 2003, there will always be a temptation to leave these migrations to the last minute. This is especially true for low-profile migrations such as SQL Server 2005, which many businesses are yet to even register on their IT agendas," he said.
"Ironically, this lack of preparation is in part due to the improved migration process behind much of Microsoft’s software. Many businesses now leave their migrations to the last minute in the hope that, come April, the upgrades will be little more than a process of 'click Next, click Next, click Finish'. Sadly, this will not be the case."
Microsoft, of course, emphasises the relatively shonky performance offered by these legacy products, and what a great opportunity this presents, but it would say that. The firm once said that the Zune was a good idea.
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