Beat SQL Server 2008/R2 End of Support by moving to Azure VM for three years of free security update
Published Jul 09 2019 11:54 AM 7,930 Views

Today, On July 9, 2019, support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 ended. But there is still time to protect those workloads by rehosting to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance to run on latest version of SQL Server or to SQL Server virtual machines to get three years of automated Extended Security Updates at no additional charge and upgrade to a newer version when ready. Customers like Trican Well Service Ltd. are moving their SQL Server 2008 to Azure to secure and manage their workloads.


“We have a critical application running on SQL Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 that could not be upgrade before end of support.  Moving the application and database to Azure VMs reassured us that our data would stay secure because Microsoft provides 3 extra years of free extended security updates in Azure. Now IT can focus on innovation rather than managing legacy hardware.”

Arthur Lo, Team Lead - Infrastructure Services at Trican Well Service Ltd.


Use Azure marketplace images or Bring Your Own VHD                                              

Migrating SQL Server 2008/R2 SQL Server to Azure Virtual Machines is simple because the same version of SQL Server can be re-hosted on Azure Virtual Machines. You do not need to re-certify applications before moving to Azure Virtual Machines.


Azure Marketplace offers up-to-date pay-as-you-go (“PAYG”) and bring-your-own-license (“BYOL”) SQL Server 2008 R2 on Windows Server 2008 R2 images for clean start; or, you can bring your own virtual hard disk (VHD) with a SQL Server 2008/R2 instance and use it to provision a Azure Virtual Machine.




Existing SQL Server licenses with Software Assurance, via Azure Hybrid Benefit, enable significant cost savings in cloud. Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) SQL Server 2008 R2 images are available for all customers, and Azure Hybrid Benefit can be activated on an existing or new pay-as-you-go (PAYG) virtual machine with SQL Server Azure Hybrid Benefit checkbox on Azure Portal as seen below. 

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Register SQL Server 2008/R2 with SQL Server virtual machine (VM) Resource Provider

SQL Server 2008/R2 self-installed on Azure Virtual Machines or virtual machines provisioned from custom VHD’s with SQL Server 2008/R2 should be registered with SQL Server virtual machine (VM) Resource Provider to set the license type and indicate Azure Hybrid Benefit usage.


Registering with the SQL VM resource provider in lightweight mode will assure compliance and enable flexible licensing as well as in-place SQL Server edition updates without any availability impact. Failover Cluster Instances and multi-instance deployments can be registered with SQL VM resource provider only in lightweight mode. You can follow the directions found on Azure portal to upgrade to full manageability mode and enable comprehensive manageability feature set with a SQL Server restart anytime.


To register self-installed SQL Server on Windows Server 2008 with SQL Server virtual machine (VM) Resource Provider, you must identify the edition and version of SQL Server and use agentless mode of SQL Server IaaS Extension. Registering an End of Support (EOS) SQL Server on Windows Server 2008 virtual machine with SQL Server virtual machine (VM) Resource Provider will not run any agent on the virtual machine.


Automate security patching in a custom maintenance window

SQL Server IaaS Extension offers free automated security patching within a custom-defined maintenance window through Azure Portal. Automated security patching is configured for Sunday’s 2:00PM local time for 90 minutes by default, but this can be changed to any day and time.

Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) and bring-your-own-license (BYOL) SQL Server 2008 R2 virtual machines come with SQL Server IaaS Extension installed by default when provisioned from Azure Portal. If you chose to bring your own VHD with SQL Server 2008/R2 to Azure Virtual Machine, then you can install SQL Server IaaS extension manually.

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Enterprise scale Backup for SQL Server 2008/R2

While you move your SQL Server to Azure to leverage agility and reduced cost, you wouldn't want to continue using traditional backup methods that are infrastructure heavy and difficult to scale. Azure Backup is the modern way of backing up SQL Server in the cloud; an enterprise-scale, zero-infrastructure solution, it eliminates the need to deploy and manage backup infrastructure or agents.

Azure Backup service supports SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 running on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. The solution comes with long term retention and central management capabilities to help meet compliance needs. At the same time, it facilitates self-service backups with 15-minutes RPO and point-in-time restores for operational recoveries. Learn more.

High Availability with SIOS Data Keeper

In order to mitigate the possibility of downtime and qualify for 99.95% or 99.99% availability, you need to configure SQL Server for High Availability. On premises you may be running a SQL Server Failover Cluster (FCI) instance for high availability and you can use the same method on Azure Virtual Machine with SIOS DataKeeper. DataKeeper offers a shared storage on Windows Failover Cluster and allows building a SQL Server FCI in Azure that leverages the locally attached storage on each instance. Microsoft recommends following SQL Server FCI with SIOS Datakeeper tutorial to configure high availability for SQL Server 2008/R2 on Azure Virtual Machine.

Protect with Azure Site Recovery

Azure Site Recovery (ASR) supports protecting SQL Server 2008 R2 by “on-prem to Azure” or “Azure to Azure” replication scenarios. Use Azure Site Recovery for migration from on-prem to Azure or for data protection on Azure by replicating virtual machines between Azure regions. Azure Site Recovery offers min 1hour RPO for App snapshot consistency and min 2 Hours RTO for virtual machine availability. Azure Site Recovery can also be used together with SQL Server FCI with local mirror.

Migrate your SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2 workloads to Azure Virtual Machine today and stay protected, compliant, reduce TCO and maximize ROI. If you have a question or would like to make a suggestion, you can contact us through UserVoice. We look forward to hearing from you!







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