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SQL Server 2012 End of Life – What You Need To Know

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Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is currently one of the most popular RDBMS being used in every popular organization, and it, reaching the end of its life, poses a threat to all of them. If you or your organization is using Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and worried about it reaching end of life, you should be prepared about what to do next. In that case, here’s our guide that will help you out in every scenario.

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Overview

SQL is an acronym for Structured Query Language, and Microsft SQL is a proprietary relational database management software developed and supported by Microsoft. Microsoft SQL Server, often referred to as SQL Server, is a specialized software developed by Microsoft.

The main job of Structured Query Language is to manage and organize information in a structured way. Think of it as a highly organized and efficient filing system but for digital data.

Core Functions of Microsoft SQL 2012:

Data Storage and Retrieval: The primary role of SQL Server is to store and retrieve data. Imagine it as a digital warehouse where information is neatly kept, and whenever someone (like another computer program) needs specific data, SQL Server quickly fetches it.

Interactions with Other Software: Various applications and software, whether they are on the same computer or connected through a network, can ask SQL Server for information. It acts as a helpful assistant, providing the requested data promptly.

What is End of Support In Terms of SQL Server 2012?

End of Support, or EOS for short, is a big deal in the world of software and technology. It’s like the retirement date for a product, be it software, hardware, or any IT tool. When a product reaches its EOS, it’s like the manufacturer or developer, in this case, Microsoft, says, “We’re done officially taking care of this now.”

Problems with SQL Server 2012 Reaching End of Life

For people and businesses using these products, EOS can be a bit like a red flag. It means the product might become more vulnerable to bad stuff, like cyber-attacks because it’s not getting the latest protection. Plus, if something goes wrong, you might not get the help you need.

Overall, End of Support is like the retirement party for a tech product. After that date, it’s still around, but it’s not getting any younger or stronger, and it might need a bit more attention to stay safe and sound.

  • No More Updates: One of the main things that happens at EOS is that the product stops getting updates. These updates could include important things like fixing bugs and errors or making sure it’s protected against new online threats. So, once a product hits its EOS, it stays the way it is, warts and all.
  • No More Help: The support part of EOS is also crucial. Imagine if you have a problem with a product – maybe it’s not working right or you’re not sure how to use it. Before EOS, the company would help you out. But after EOS, you’re pretty much on your own. They won’t be officially there to assist.

When Does Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Reaches End of Life?

SQL Server 2012 concluded its support cycle on July 12, 2022, and Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 reached the end of support on October 10, 2023. After these specific dates, these products will no longer receive essential security patches, non-security updates, bug fixes, or technical assistance from Microsoft.

It is strongly recommended that your organization should transfer your applications and workloads to Azure, ensuring a secure and well-maintained environment. Azure SQL Managed Instance presents a fully managed and consistently updated Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) option.

Alternatively, customers can choose to migrate to Azure Virtual Machines, which include Azure Dedicated Host, Azure VMware Solution, and Azure Stack. This migration allows for up to three years of additional extended security updates, all provided at no extra cost.

For customers requiring an on-premises solution, a viable option is upgrading to SQL Server 2022 or SQL Server 2019. This ensures a continued, well-supported environment for your applications. It’s a proactive step to maintain security and reliability in your IT infrastructure.

What to Do After SQL Server 2012 Reaches End Of Life?

Following the end of life and end of mainstream support, Microsoft discontinues the provision of non-security hotfixes, unless covered by an extended support agreement. Warranty claims cease, and Microsoft no longer accepts feature and change requests.

Upon reaching the ‘Extended Support End Date,’ there will be no further patches, security updates, or support from Microsoft for the product.

Continuing to use these products without taking action significantly increases risks related to security and compliance, potentially impacting productivity. Over time, these risks will escalate, underscoring the urgency for proactive measures.

However, you have some options when SQL Server 2012 reaches End of Life. Here are they:

Option 1: Pay for Extended Support

If your organization has missed an End of Life (EOL) deadline, the simplest remedy is to acquire Extended Security Updates from Microsoft. These updates cover critical and important security issues but do not include new features or non-security updates requested by customers.

It’s crucial to note that purchasing extended support is an expensive and short-term solution. While available to clients with an active license for SQL Server or Windows Server, it merely defers impending challenges. A similar case is found with Windows 8.1 end of life.

Option 2: Upgrade to SQL Server 2019

SQL Server 2012 End of Life - What You Need To Know

Another viable course of action is to upgrade to more recent versions of these products, such as SQL Server 2019. This not only ensures access to updates for an extended period but also introduces enhanced features and capabilities.

Upgrading provides your organization with improved performance, advanced security measures, and a range of additional functionalities to enhance overall productivity and efficiency.

Option 3: Upgrade to Azure

SQL Server 2012 End of Life - What You Need To Know

The primary suggestion is to migrate on-premise Microsoft SQL workloads to the Microsoft Azure cloud. By upgrading from legacy on-premise database technology, businesses can streamline their environment, optimizing performance, recovery, and provisioning.

Cloud solutions provide ongoing flexibility, allowing for scalable adjustments based on specific requirements, with payment structures aligned to actual consumption. Examples like Exchange Online, included in Office 365, or Azure SQL Database, demonstrate Microsoft’s current strategy for mainstream server applications.

Microsoft emphasizes that with a slight modification in the code, hosting SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2 to an Azure SQL database is feasible. This transition aligns with modern practices and facilitates a seamless integration into the Azure cloud environment.

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