What Microsoft SQL Server 2012’s End of Support means for you

What Microsoft SQL Server 2012’s End of Support means for you

Microsoft has slated their popular SQL Server 2012 software to end support on July 12, 2022. With this date less than a year away, organizations may be wondering what impacts it will have and what they need to do to prepare for it.

This blog seeks to answer many commonly asked questions about Microsoft SQL Server 2012’s end of support.

What does End of Support mean?

End of support, also referred to as end of life, has a simple definition: it is the date Microsoft has set to cease providing support for a given product or solution. In this case, it is referring to SQL Server 2012.

No security updates or support means that SQL Server 2012 will no longer have any patches for new vulnerabilities, nor will Microsoft be able to provide support if an organization encounters a bug or error resulting from their SQL Server 2012 implementation.

Will my SQL Server 2012 stop working?

The short answer is no. The more complicated answer is that the end of support itself will not cause SQL Server 2012 to fail or cease functioning. That said, if an organization encounters a bug, error, or vulnerability in SQL Server 2012 or is subject to a breach due to a SQL Server 2012 vulnerability, Microsoft will not be able to help.

This means that once the end of support date lapses, a severe error or bug in SQL Server 2012 could have dramatic, potentially even fatal, impacts on business operations.

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What about security?

End of support typically includes an end to security updates for the associated product. In the case of SQL Server 2012, Microsoft is offering a 3-year security opt-in. The offer states that organizations leveraging SQL Server 2012 can opt-in for an additional three years of security updates past the end of support date.

It’s essential to call out that opting in only provides security updates and does not provide three additional years of support. The opt-in offer is intended to extend security for organizations actively migrating their SQL database off of SQL Server 2012.

Note: Organizations must contact Microsoft to opt-in for the 3-year security extension. Opt-ins are not automatic.

Do I need to upgrade or migrate?

While SQL Server 2012 should continue to function past its end of support date, migration to the cloud or updating to SQL Server 2019 is critical for organizations with valuable, sensitive, or business-essential data. The 3-year security extension grants organizations more time to make these moves, but once the extension lapses, SQL databases running on SQL Server 2012 may become exposed to vulnerabilities, increasing the likelihood of a data breach. Additionally, a lack of software updates and customer support may result in critical database errors that the organization can’t resolve without support from a Microsoft partner or expert. Issues with technology that have lapsed its end of support are usually costly and often take a significant amount of time to resolve.

How do I choose a platform for my SQL database?

Virtually every cloud provider offers a first-party solution for SQL databases, not to mention solutions offered by provider partners and other third parties. Assessing the many solutions available against an organization’s unique needs and goals can be a challenging task.

To help organizations assess their options, we recommend considering the following factors:

  • Does the solution support currently used features or capabilities?
  • Is the solution mature enough to support our future goals?
  • Does the solution support current IT initiatives?
  • Does the solution include or provide access to AI and Machine Learning capabilities?
  • How much effort will be required to integrate the solution with our cloud and other business apps?
  • How cost-effective is the solution?
  • Does the solution provide a simple path to migration and migration tooling?

We have a large SQL Server 2012 environment that will be difficult to update for End of Support. What can we do?

Organizations with end of support date concerns should take action to purchase Extended Security Updates from Microsoft, regardless of whether they plan to migrate to the cloud or SQL Server 2019. This action will provide three additional years of security updates for SQL Server 2012, allowing organizations more time to migrate or update their SQL environment.

Extended Security Updates typically come at a cost; however, Microsoft has a special offer for organizations considering bringing SQL to Azure. According to the offer, any organization migrating SQL Server 2012 to Azure can obtain three years of Extended Security Updates for free.

Once Extended Security Updates have been acquired, organizations should immediately begin their solution assessment and migration/planning update process if they haven’t already.

Being a Microsoft Gold Partner in data and AI, Neal Analytics is well positioned to provide end-to-end support for organizations on their SQL migration journey. Neal can help organizations assess options for SQL migrations, execute the migrations, and help unlock new use cases with modern analytics and AI solutions.

Organizations ready to plan their SQL migration (or update to SQL Server 2019) can contact us to get started.

Otherwise, check out the following resources to learn more about migrating SQL to the Microsoft Azure cloud: