The software giant will be sunsetting the 11-year old database management system this week, on Tues April 12 to be exact.
Despite its age, it is still being used by up to 30 per cent of companies in Canada to store and retrieve sales data, according to Microsoft’s estimates in January.
“It’s like an old car,” Eduard Davidzhan, a data platform marketing manager with Microsoft, told CDN sister publication IT World Canada earlier this year. Many businesses continue to use the earlier software because it does the same job as the newer model, and for a lower price, without realizing the cost of an emergency could 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cycle for Microsoft products, he notes – SQL Server 2005 has become something of a “jalopy,” Davidzhan claims, with outdated parts that make it too expensive to maintain.
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 said, 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.