SQL Server 2008/R2 No Longer Getting Security Patch Support
Updated: Mar 3
In July 2019 Microsoft issued some reminders about last day of patch support for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2.
Servers will continue to run however there won’t be any security patches anymore. That means they're potentially subject to attacks that won't get addressed by Microsoft. July 2019 represents the end of "extended support," the last phase of Microsoft's overall 10-year product lifecycle support for these servers.
Oddly, SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2, which were released about two years apart, are both losing support on the same day. It might be expected that SQL Server 2008 R2 would still have some support time remaining. However, they have the same end date because they "share the same major version number: version 10," explained Pedro Lopes, a senior program manager at Microsoft.
Extended Support Options
Likely, organizations have already been planning their workload migrations. However, this time around, Microsoft added a couple of options for organizations having upgrade difficulties because of application dependencies on using SQL Server 2008 technologies.
Organizations with such dependencies can keep their SQL Server 2008/R2 Standard and Enterprise workloads in their own data centers and pay for an Extended Security Updates plan, which adds three years of patch support from Microsoft (only "Critical" patches arrive, and there's no technical support). However, these organizations will need to have Software Assurance coverage on these servers, and they'll be paying 75 percent of the full SQL Server licensing costs each year to get the patch support.
Alternatively, organizations with SQL Server 2008/R2 dependencies can move their workloads into a virtual machine hosted on Azure datacenter infrastructure and get free Extended Security Updates support for three years. However, they must pay the costs associated with using the virtual machine (compute, storage, input/output and backup) and Software Assurance is required on the SQL Server licenses.
Of course, Microsoft is touting its Azure SQL Database service as the workload migration goal for SQL Server 2008/R2 users. Azure SQL Database is an "evergreen" database management system.
Another alternative is to buy a third party SQL Server which can be in some cases more convenient as it is more affordable and offers better technical support.
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However, what is the best option shows only the near future as the extended support from Microsoft ends definitely in 3 years.