Mark today's date: July-9 2019 - this day marks the official last day of SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 support, and has been in the lifecycle calendar since the day it released, 10 years ago. This means there's no more product updates coming, and Microsoft Support will no longer take support calls for discontinued versions. But there are options, so please read on.
SQL Server has one of the longest support lifecycles in the industry, which is maintained even in our latest release (SQL 2017 and soon SQL 2019): 5 years of mainstream + 5 years of extended support.
During the first 5 years (mainstream), Microsoft updates any given SQL Server release with enhanced capabilities, closes feature gaps, and addresses functional, performance, and security bugs.
In the 5 years of extended support, Microsoft addresses security bugs until the 10-year mark.
And if you move to Azure SQL Database, even with Managed Instance, then support lifecycle become a thing of the past. With an evergreen model, Azure SQL Database always runs the latest release of the SQL Database Engine code that is the same you run in your on-premises SQL Server. You can leverage the Azure Data Migration Service (DMS) to do online migrations to Azure.
How do we keep the continuous deployment model, and still don't break applications? That's because any feature or functionality that could be potentially affecting an application's functionality or performance is gated by compatibility levels. This protects your database that was created in Azure years ago from changing behavior throughout time with the continuous release model we have in Azure. See more information in the article Compatibility Levels and SQL Server Upgrades.
Wait, SQL 2008 released in July 2008, but SQL 2008 R2 released in May 2010 - why are these two share the same end-of-support date?
This is because both SQL Server releases share the same major version number: version 10. Different major version numbers have a different lifecycle. In SQL Server's history, the only time a major version number was shared was precisely with SQL 2008 and 2008 R2. You can see that for yourself in the article How to determine the version, edition, and update level of SQL Server and its components.
If you were somehow caught off guard with the end-of-support date, there are options in order to maintain the supported status of your SQL Server estate:
Download security updates for ESU-enabled SQL Server instances
An ESU subscription for Azure SQL VMs that are configured for automatic updates doesn't require any further action. For SQL Server on-premises or in hosted environments, or on Azure VMs that are not configured for automatic updates, you need to download and install a security update manually.
To be able to download a critical security update (if and when released over the next 3 years), you must first register the SQL Server instances for which you are eligible to access those updates. For more information, see Downloading Extended Security Updates.
Here are a few useful links to help you navigate your options:
There are options to move forward and keep leveraging the innovations, scalability, robustness, and ease-of-use of the SQL Server platform, either in your own datacenter or in the Cloud. And knowing the options allows organizations to make informed decisions about data estates that are best suited for their rhythms.
Pedro Lopes ( @SQLPedro ) – Senior Program Manager
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