Tuesday, 9 July 2019

OUT OF SUPPORT: SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2

Welcome to this post, on SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2, both of these versions of SQL server will go out of  extended support with Microsoft today! 9th July 2019!

Maybe you were thinking of upgrading your legacy SQL servers to the latest and greatest versions?

Who is Affected

In the consultancy practice at gethynellis.com we have both large and small clients. Its usually  always the way, the small clients with less of a SQL Server infrastructure footprint find it easier to keep up within two versions of the latest version of SQL Server.  Its very often the larger clients, with a large estate that struggle to keep all of their estate on supported versions and are usually the ones facing the end of support cliff edge.

I have seen SQL Server estates at many  companies and businesses and, at an estimate I'd say that between 20 and 30% of the estate is on SQL Server 2008 R2 and below. There can be a number of reasons for this, including but not limited too,  the applications the databases support require an older version of SQL Server, maybe the applications are  also coming to the end of life, but the end dates do not  not match up with the data platform end of support dates. In this situation  you have period of time where your data platform is out of support completely.

Sometimes these applications are critical to the business and everything works just fine. The business doesn’t want to disrupt the application or introduce any risk by performing a migration to a new version. It works fine as it is, why would I want to change it? In which case the end of support  cliff edge could be a problem for you too.

Extended Support End 9th July  2019

Extend support ends on 9th July 2019 – today!

If you haven't done so yet you might be making plans to migrate your legacy SQL Servers off the unsupported versions. If you do find yourself in a situation with SQL Server 2008 R2 or below still running you have four  options….

You can:
  • Run on the out of support software
  • You can modernise and migrate to the latest and greatest SQL Server platform or somewhere in-between
  • You pay for a customer support contract with Microsoft so you continue to get security updates
  • Or you can migrate the work load to Azure and you will continue to get the security updates for FREE!
There are pros and cons of each.

Run on out of support software

If you decide to run on out support software and take the risk associated with running on out of support software.  The main advantage of this approach is there is no further work for you to do. There are some disadvantages though that you should consider, the longer you run on the platform the greater the chances of you encountering a security vulnerability or failing a compliance test. Also if anything does go wrong you’ll have no support from Microsoft. When would I take this approach? If the database and its application are running on the old data platform and the application is also coming to the end of life but the dates don’t quite  match up… Then I might consider running on this for a short while, I'm talking a few months tops. It might be your happy to run on out of support software  for a month or two, maybe 6 months, maybe that’s pushing it. Any longer than that and I personally would be looking at some of the other options available.

Modernise! Upgrade or migrate to the latest and greatest SQL Server platform (or somewhere in-between)

Modernise and upgrade is one of the options that you have available.

You can upgrade your on premises SQL Server estate to use say SQL Server 2017 – which at this time is the latest version of SQL Server that has been released to market. SQL Server 2019 is no doubt not far away. Or  you could use this opportunity to jump in to the cloud! You could if you wanted  look to migrate the databases to Azure  either as IaaS solution where you run the VM in Azure or even the PaaS Azure SQL database offering

There are number of advantages to upgrading your data platform. You’ll be running your database workloads on an in support data platform, with a long support window. There will likely by new features in the latest and greatest version of SQL Server that you can use to add business value to your application – Availability Groups for example. Also you will likely find people with skills in the later technology, those skills will be more readily available in the jobs market.

The disadvantages of modernising and upgrading could include:
There will likely be a different licensing model – the licensing model changed between SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2012 – it possible you might have to pay more for you SQL Server licences
If your workload and application is also near end of life the planning and work involved in an upgrade might not be worth it

When would I use? I’d use this approach if the applications and workloads living on the data platform are still in use with a reasonable shelf life and likely to be in use beyond the very short term.

Pay for a customer support contract with Microsoft

The third option is similar to the first option but instead of doing nothing you pay for a custom support agreement. The main advantage here is you can continue to get security updates and therefore potentially remaining compliant. The main disadvantage of this approach is the cost involved, which I understand to be 75% of the full license costs of the latest version of SQL Server and Windows Server.

When would I use this approach?

In all my time working and upgrading with SQL Server I have never executed this option. I think I would need to be in a situation where an upgrade was not possible for whatever reason that may be, and I had strict needs to remain complaint, or the gap between out of support and the application retiring was too long for my risk threshold.

Migrate workload to Azure

Microsoft have decided to allow SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server R2 VMs running in Azure to have the security updates for free for a further 3 years. So you can migrate your database server to azure and continue to gets security updates for free until 2022.

The main advantage of this is you get to keep running the same version of the OS and Data platform, the security updates are free so the cost is minimal and also once you're in Azure its then only a small jump to the full PaaS Azure SQL database or managed instance offering.

The disadvantages as far as I can see is you would need to move off premises, if this is not an option for you then you can’t exercise this option and there will still be work in involved in ‘lifting and shifting’ the VM to the cloud.

Whatever you do when support ends for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2  have a plan

We are running a free webinar on 31st July to discuss some of these options and look at some useful techniques and tools that you can use to migrate and upgrade your SQL Server platform... Please do sign up if this sounds interesting to you.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Free Webinar: Driven by the 9s

Driven by the 9s - A free Webinar to help you learn how to combine SQL availability features to deliver a highly available Microsoft Data Platform

Microsoft’s data platform and SQL Server comes with a plethora of High Availability features. Some of these features can work hand-in glove with each other to allow you to configure your SQL Servers to be both Highly-Available and recoverable in the event of the worst happening, but it’s not always obvious how to achieve the right balance.

If you are driven by the '9s'...have strict SLAs... and up time is key to you and your business, then...Combining SQL Server’s high availability features is something you should consider.

In this free webinar we will look at how we can combine SQL Server Availability Groups and SQL Server Failover cluster instances to keep our servers both highly available and maintain a secondary copy of your important databases at a disaster recovery site whilst considering the cost equation too.

The session is scheduled on the 28th June at 13:00 UK Time.

You can register for the session here

If you register and find you can’t make the seminar, don’t worry we’ll make a recording of the webinar and make this available to you after the event.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Research into Autism in Information Technology

Title: Exploring the experiences of employees on the autism spectrum working in information technology: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

My name is Sabrina Ellis, I am the Operations Director here at GRE Solutions, I'm also a student at the University of Wolverhampton. The purpose of this post is to introduce the idea to you and enquire whether you could support the research project going forward. I am working on a dissertation focusing on the lived experiences of employment, work place stresses and coping strategies of working age adults on the autism spectrum.

Autism has started to become a diagnosis people have heard of but perhaps do not understand. There are 16% of adults on the autism spectrum in part time work with an overall of 32% of working age adults in some form of paid work in the UK. These statistics have remained static over the past 10 years, despite government strategies implemented and updated regularly since 2010. As no two people on the autism spectrum are the same, my idea is that more in-depth research is required to understand similarities or differences individuals on the autism spectrum experience during employment.

The study will focus on potential stresses experienced at work, coping strategies utilised, any lived experience of feeling judged by others and how this may have affected their job performance, relationships at work and social inclusion/exclusion. As no two people on the autism spectrum are the same, this approach will explore, describe and interpret how participants make sense of their experience’s that cannot be elicited through numerical statistics in reports or articles.

Participants will be asked to volunteer to take part in the research project and provide written consent before the study commences. They will be involved in a face to face interview which will involve 11 pre set questions to explore their employment experiences, perceptions and what it feels like to them to manage work place stresses, relationships and individual coping strategies. All participants can gain access to the final dissertation at the end of the project.

Expected outcomes will include the successful data collection and analysis, of interview transcriptions highlighting possible themes to the employment stresses and coping strategies experienced by adults of working age on the autism spectrum.

If you are aware of any individuals who may wish to volunteer to take part in the project, I can be contacted by email at S.Mcfarlane@wlv.ac.uk.

Warmest Regards,

Sabrina Ellis
Email: S.Mcfarlane@wlv.ac.uk

Dr. Christopher J. Cockshott
Lecturer in Psychology
Institute of Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing
University of Wolverhampton, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)1902 518943
Email: C.Cockshott@wlv.ac.uk

Friday, 4 January 2019

Fun Time Friday: New Year! Drones, Autism and SQL Server 2008

Welcome to the first Fun Time Friday of 2019 and with that I'd like to wish a very Happy New Year to our friends, customers and clients.

SQL Server 2008 is Out of Support July 2019

We have taken down the Christmas tree here at gethynellis.com and started back to work. Albeit at a nice pace,  starting  the year with a three day week. With that said,  we have been onsite with a customer helping with database administration support and next week our big SQL Server Upgrade projects will kick back into life, and there is the possibility of digital transformation project getting the sign off. More on that if it happens.

I usually like to comment on some news stories that have a technology theme and this week is no different. The main technology story that sticks in mind over the Christmas period is...

Drones at the Airport

Just before Christmas one of the UK's busiest airports, Gatwick, was brought to complete standstill by the reported sightings of drones. As this was playing out just before Christmas it had all the hallmarks of some sort of denial of service attack. Or something that you would expect to see in Die Hard movie. Drones were constantly being reported as visible,  Drones were spotted and planes couldn't land or take off rendering the airport useless for three days and a whole bunch of people stranded with thousands of flights cancelled which I'm sure did make for a pleasant Christmas preparation for those travelers affected.

There appears to be have been a lot of confusion around what went on,  with people  arrested, their lives turned upside down as news of their arrest was splashed all over the media, only for them to be  released without charge and a police apology followed. It was then revealed by the police there might not be any drone activity at all and the drones people were reporting seeing could have actually been the police drones being used to hunt for the culprit drones.

Either way I'm glad it appears not as sinister as I first thought but can't help but feel the situation was handled badly from start to finish. No doubt the laws around drones and airports in this country is far to lax but with BREXIT taking up all of the politicians and law makers time and effort, everything else seems to have taken a back seat.

The Tech Firms Whose Staff are all Autistic 

Autism is something that we at gethynellis.com have an interest in and our Operational Director - Sabrina Ellis is currently writing a thesis on Autism in the work place. So when I stumbled across this news article on the BBC about a firm whose staff are all Autistic I thought it would be worth sharing this with you https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46538125

I talked  about this article  with Sabrina and it seems that this is not a one off company, there are other firms out whose staff are all autistic. The article states that "Autism affects more than one in 100 people according to the UK's National Autistic Society, but fewer than a quarter of these will go on to full-time employment."  The article describes some of the issues an autistic person can have finding work and describes the traditional interview process as something that an autistic person could struggle with, things like eye contact, not looking away, selling yourself can all be very difficult for an autistic person.

What I found most interesting in the article is that large companies like SAP are very aware of the value of autistic people can bring to their teams and as such they change the selection process to remove the traditional interview and replace with more task focused activity - and they insist  "employing autistic people is not done out of charity but because it boosts our bottom line". This is an area of research we are following up on at gethynellis.com and no doubt we'll explore further and write more in this area in the future

SQL Server 2008

With SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 going out of support in July, many companies might be thinking of upgrading their legacy SQL Servers  in the first half of the new year. If you would like some help either developing the initial planning of your SQL Server upgrade or if you prefer we can help with a complete end to end migration get in touch. Check out our YouTube video for more information on the option available to you.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 - OUT of SUPPORT July 2019

Both SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 go out of extended support with Microsoft in July 2019. That’s fast approaching and as we enter the new year maybe you are thinking of upgrading your legacy SQL Server to later and greater versions? In this post and video  I’ll bet talking about the options available to you if you still have SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2 instances  running in your environment

In the consultancy practice at gethynellis.com we have range of clients ranging from large to small.
Its usually  always the way, that the small clients with less SQL Server infrastructure footprint find it easier to keep up to date or at least within two versions of the latest version of SQL Server.
Its very often the larger clients, with a larger SQL Server  estate that struggle to keep all of their estate on supported versions and are usually the ones facing the end of support cliff edge.

In the video we identify the options you have available to you if you are still running SQL Sevrer 2008 R2 or SQL Sevrer 2008 and discuss the pros and cons of each:

You can

  1. Run on the out of support software
  2. You can modernise and migrate to the latest and greatest SQL Server platform or somewhere in-between.
  3. You pay for a customer support contract with Microsoft so you continue to get security updates.
  4. Or you can migrate the work load to Azure and you will continue to get the security updates for FREE!

Whatever you do when SQL Server 2008 and R2 goes out of extended support have a plan. We can help.  We can provide with an initial assessment of your SQL estate, to give you an idea of what would be involved in mitigating the risk of your out of support data platform, whether that’s a version upgrade,  migrating to Azure or something else. If you’d like to speak to us about your SQL Sevrer 2008 estate then please get in touch.

Friday, 21 December 2018

Fun Time Friday: Black Friday, Mad Friday, Frantic Friday or Black Eye Friday

Black Friday (No,not Shopping!), Mad Friday, Frantic Friday or Black Eye Friday is a nickname for the last Friday before Christmas (Today!) in the United Kingdom.

It is the most popular night for office  Christmas parties, which consequently makes it one of the busiest nights in the year for ambulances and the police.

It's the gethynellis.com office party today, although we are hopeful that we won't need to involve the ambulance or police this evening - we better not make any promises either!

It has been the last full work week before Christmas and with no deadlines or deliverable due this week the pressure has been off a little bit. None the less,  it has been a busy week ,  getting our projects into a state where can resume and complete work early in the new year.

We're in the midst of a migration to SQL Server 2014 for one client. There is a valid reason for choosing SQL Server 2014  as the target platform (as opposed to SQL Server 2016 or 2017) and we've made good progress so far migrating several non-production environments to the new platform. Come January  2019 we should be in good shape to complete the final production move.

The new year, 2019, will be interesting time for businesses that use the Microsoft Data Platform to support their critical business applications. A new version of SQL Server  - SQL Server 2019 is due to drop... well... in 2019! A new version of SQL Server always causes a little bit of stir with SQL Server enthusiasts and the SQL Server community. Businesses and organisations are not always as excited about a new SQL Server version.

SQL Server 2019

Business and companies  do however get a little more excited, enthused and motivated when their existing technology goes out of support. This you could argue is a much bigger driver for businesses in pushing them to upgrading and refreshing the data platform than a new release of  a new version of SQL Server causes.

In 2019 both SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 will go out of extended support with Microsoft. This will no doubt provide a big driver for many businesses to upgrade their legacy  SQL Servers.

SQL Server 2008 R2

SQL Server 2008

If this is a driver for your business to upgrade and refresh its  data platform, and you don't have the skills, or perhaps you don't have the time to deliver a data platform upgrade on top of all the other work you have on the we can help. Contact us and book a free consultation to discuss your SQL Server upgrade options.

If its your office party tonight, be safe and take care out there. As this will be the last post before Christmas - I'll use it to wish a very Merry Christmas.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Fun time Friday - A week is a long time in....

A week is a long time in...

SQL Server Land

A week is a long time in SQL Server land. This week I have been busy working on a version migration for one particular customer and looking at security, 'productionising' some servers and troubleshooting connectivity issues for another. As is usual for me no day has been the same.

It’s been a busy week. Despite this, I didn't miss the release of SQL Server 2019 CTP 2.2 - SQL Server 2019 promises to offer much in the real time data analytic field. At some point, likely the new year, I will spend some time exploring the new version to see it in greater detail, so I can understand what new features will  be beneficial for my clients and customers going forward.

You can read about the new features in SQL Server 2019 and also download SQL Server 2019 CTP 2.2 here on the Microsoft website.

With a new SQL Server version being released in 2019, and  also a more likely driver for upgrading, is SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2  going out extended support with Microsoft in the new year. Many of my clients will be looking to upgrade their SQL Server version in 2019.  To ensure they are on a supported version of SQL Server.

If you need assistance with a version upgrade, from the discovering and planning phase, executing the migration plan or optimizing the platform afterwards we can help. Get in touch for a free consultation about your SQL Server upgrade.


If a week is a long time in SQL Server land, a day is a long time in politics especially  this week. Brexit,  again has been at the heart of the non-tech news for me this week. 

On Wednesday the Prime Minister faced a “No confidence” vote after 15% of her parties MPs (48 of them.) wrote letters expressing they have no confidence in the Prime Minister. By Wednesday evening she had won the confidence vote with 200 MPs voting in her favour, 117 of her own party voted that they had No confidence in her. She won the vote and she is now safe, from her own party anyway, for 12 months. 

How she will get 'The Deal' through parliament is now anyone's guess. Especially as several MPs who voted for her in the No Confidence vote have stated they won’t be supporting her Brexit deal. Add to that the opposition parties could decide they have no confidence in the government itself. I'll be honest neither to do I. All the while, the uncertainty rumbles on. There appears there won't be a general election this week but if carries on like this one thinks a General Election  can't be far away. The uncertainty continues.

After this week, there’s one full working week before Christmas – It promises to be an interesting one.

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OUT OF SUPPORT: SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2

Welcome to this post, on SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2, both of these versions of SQL server will go out of  extended support with Microsoft t...