Nearly 20% of Microsoft SQL Servers running have passed end of support

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www.theregister.com/2024/06/17/outdated_sql_ser…

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According to chief strategy officer Roel Decneut, the biz scanned just over a million instances of SQL Server and found that 19.8 percent were now unsupported by Microsoft.

Still, the finding underlines a potential issue facing users of Microsoft's flagship database: Does your business depend on something that should have been put out to pasture long ago?

Sure, IT professionals are all too aware of the risks of running business-critical processes on outdated software, but persuading the board to allocate funds for updates can be challenging.

Decneut, an 18-year Microsoft veteran before joining Lansweeper in 2019, was on the SQL Server 2008 and 2012 launch team.

Not that Microsoft is alone in facing the problem of customers sticking with outdated code years – or decades – after support ends.

Stokes also noted that DBAs are similarly reluctant to be limited in this way and invoked the ghosts of COBOL and FORTRAN to illustrate his point.


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33 Comments

Omgboom

I'm shocked it's not more lol

WagnasT

I had to deploy a couple MS SQL clusters years ago, I'm fuzzy on the details but for whatever reason we needed a domain admin to enable clustering and instead of following the permissions on the KB they gave up just made the service account a domain admin.

To this day I'll never understand why a vendor would choose MS SQL or Oracle if they don't have a very specific function that they need.

expr

Yep. Postgres is fantastic and there's no justification to use proprietary bullshit like that.

RubberDuck

Because a lot of applications require MS SQL. And they develop based on this because a lot of clients use MS SQL.. and the circle continues.

SapientLasagna

At least some of the app developers have realized that if they develop for Postgres they get to keep the Sql Server licensing costs for themselves. Windows server licensing costs too, if they're clever.

Unfortunately the old janky enterprise shit will probably never get updated. You know the ones. The ones that think they're new and hip because they support SSO (Radius only)

Defaced

Because no one wants to learn something new like postgres, vendors haven't adopted other databases platforms other than SQL, and licensing is absolutely stupid expensive for SQL, so most companies just stay on what they currently run. It costs money to hire new employees who know other databases types, and it costs money to train current employees, it's just an absolutely stupid vicious cycle Microsoft has created. The barrier of entry for new versions of SQL is so high, that it's just not worth the hassle and the price.

Treczoks

TIL that people still use MS SQL. Don't they know any better?

NeoNachtwaechter

There you can see how bad they are treating their customers, declaring end of support against their wishes and demands.

Zip2

In my experience it’s normally unsupported 5 years after they released an updated version. The enterprises probably haven’t bothered to update because it requires too much time to plan, or the people responsible have long since moved on and the knowledge has been lost.

Probably not M$ being the bad guys. You can’t support ancient versions forever.

Dashi

Very much this. I dislike M$ as much as the next guy but it isn't always their fault. The biggest reason we have outdated SQL in my experience is older software that clients do not want to pay for an upgrade for that uses a sql backend that will break if we have the databases in compatibility mode.

Just like M$ with good reason (mostly) end of life's an OS they need to no longer mainstream support older software versions.

AlternateRoute

All software eventually gets deprecated / unsupported, including free open source projects.

I think the update cycle on MySQL and Mongo is more aggressive than MS SQL.

The only difference is you pay for MS SQL.

Semi-Hemi-Lemmygod

There are people who pay for MySQL and Mongo. And even MariaDB. All of them have enterprise versions of their software.

AlternateRoute

And how many years do they support a specific release before making you upgrade.

Looks like MySQL standard releases are one year and LTS releases are 5 or up to 8 with extended support.

So somewhat similar to Microsoft

IsThisAnAI , edited

I honestly can't tell if this is sarcasm or just ignoring the many many foss projects with forced deprication.

voodooattack

At least they can be forked if someone needs them enough.

NeoNachtwaechter , edited

Are you just trying to tell me that FOSS projects usually do what their customers need?

IsThisAnAI

👌

cron

I would say that this is a sign of a bad product. Apparently, compatibility between SQL server versions is not great.

catloaf

I have never had a problem upgrading a SQL server. Granted, we aren't talking about anything fancy like database sharding, but the janky applications I work with have never complained.

r00ty

I think in 99% of use cases, upgrading isn't a problem. Most of the time new SQL versions are backward compatible. I've never personally had a problem upgrading a database for a product that expects an older version.

They do have compatibility modes too, but those only go back so far too.

But, I think companies with their production databases for perhaps older complex systems are likely very weary of upgrading their working database. This is most likely where this situation comes from. Imagine being the person responsible for IT, that upgraded the DB server and database to the latest version. Everything seemed to be working fine. Then accounts run their year-end process, it falls over and now there are months of data in the newer version that won't work properly. It'd be an absolute pain to get things working again.

Much safer to leave that SQL 2005 server doing what it does best. :P

Mbourgon everywhere

It’s not just SQL, it’s frequently the OS. Corporate tools don’t support the new OS so you install the “supported” OS, which is now several years old, and which only supports the next version or two of SQL Server. Microsoft also didn’t help things with 2012R2, which was 2 years later but had the same EOL as 2012.

And yes, you can set compatibility level on the database, but there are still edge cases where the engine version matters. And the business prioritizes, but upgrades are lower on the list than money-making features.

cron

Apparently, it is not only my oberservation, but the article says similarly:

The inconsistent approach to backward compatibility in decades past may also have played a part.

However, I'm not a db admin and my perspective might be biased (infosec).

catloaf

I don't know what they're talking about there, but that might just be ignorance on my part, because I'm not a database administrator. For the basic use cases, SQL hasn't changed in decades. For simple applications you could even change from MSSQL to MariaDB to postgres and make only minor changes.

capital

I hope this is sarcastic.

Is MS supposed to support everything in perpetuity?

Cornelius_Wangenheim , edited

What? There's lots of reasons to complain about Microsft, but their legacy support is not one of them. Almost every product they make gets 10 years of support + 3 more if you pay for it. In comparison, Postgres only does 5, MySQL is 8, and Mongo is 3.

Dudewitbow

its generally just consumers on the consumer OS who have that image of Microsoft.

take for example their Xbox Division. Microsoft is the o nlu company where its possible to throw in an OG xbox game in their modern console and play it (after a compatibility patch). Both nintendo and sony couldnt even fathom that kind of backwards compatibility. Microsoft is also the one who keeps up their digital store (on console) the longest

IsThisAnAI

You most certainly cannot play og Xbox games on a series. 360÷ only and not all of them.

IsThisAnAI

There are only 60 og Xbox games and you are purchasing a separate license. You can't just use your disks from the console. Then, when you get into 360 era games you can just use the disk without repurchase (they upgrade you to a digital format as well).

Toes♀

I still see a lot of SQL server 2005 express out there.

JJROKCZ

Oh I’m sure, I have a few left that I’m planning on moving away from soon but have to get approval for paying for vendor support for it and get approval for the brief outage. Some of us aren’t allowed to do it over the weekend or even overnight without regulatory approval

disconnectikacio

why anyone uses shit like that? I recommed against every microsoft software, and devs too: kill it with fire!