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Nine smarter steps for your SQL Server 2014 Migration

This blog takes a looks at our nine key steps and considerations for migrating successfully to Microsoft SQL Server 2014 from a legacy platform.

Nexon /
Technology

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN 2016?

Every so often in the technology world, we have to face reality concerning end of support for enterprise software. This reality is fast approaching for Microsoft SQL Server 2005.

Why is this an issue? SQL Server 2005 remains a widely adopted legacy platform still in place for many organisations. And that’s a risky strategy because mainstream support for it ended in April 2011, but in April of 2016… all support for it ceases altogether.

In terms of repercussions, ‘end of support’ essentially means no security updates, trickier compliance certification, and higher maintenance and staff costs.

But don’t be concerned. If your IT environment is still running SQL Server 2005, we’re here to help!

This blog takes a looks at our nine key steps and considerations for migrating successfully to Microsoft SQL Server 2014 from a legacy platform.

Our 9 key steps follow below. This blog article outlines each step in summary – but we’ve created a more in-depth white paper covering the same topic.

1) Assess your own competency

There are two primary methods for upgrading to a newer version of SQL Server – a ‘side-by-side’ or an ‘in-place’ upgrade – and both processes requires quality research, planning, and execution.

Whichever path you take, the first question to ask is – can your team do this by themselves?  Most IT departments run a very lean workforce, where people all have important roles to play supporting the organisation. Does your team have the time to devote to this task to ensure it is done well?

2) Don’t fail to plan

We all know better, but too frequently, organisations jump head first into an upgrade without proper planning – and it’s often performed directly in their production environment. This can cause trouble if things go wrong.

Database upgrades are not trivial so be sure you fully identify the tasks required, the testing involved, and the criteria you will use to verify your tests are successful before commencing your upgrade.

3) Understand your environment, then break it down

You might think that prioritising the most impacted business systems in order of importance and focusing on these first is the best approach. But it can be best to prioritise your workload, then consider dealing with one or two simpler upgrades first – regardless of their priority.  The experience your team gains in moving smaller or less complex databases will be good preparation for any challenges encountered in the more challenging areas.

4) Hold on. How healthy is your database?

Relatively few organisations can afford to retain experienced database administrators in their workforce. This means database monitoring and fine-tuning is seldom done, and the last thing you want to do is to move a poorly performing database into your new SQL Server platform. The answer? Perform a database health check to identify and remediate any issues before your migration begins.

5) Make the tough calls on rationalising application functionality

Planning for a migration is often a good time for reflection and a reality check. For example, applications running on old versions of SQL Server are now upwards of 10 years old.  Are you able to move any business functionality into other applications to rationalise your environment?

6) Licensing

Do you comply with the relevant software licensing ownership rules?  SQL Server licensing requirements have changed a lot in the past 10 years, so it could be a good idea to get some advice around keeping up with the changes.

7) Test, Test, Test

To put it simply, do not perform your user acceptance testing in a production environment. Your business is too important to you and your customers to have production failures due to inadequate testing before going live.

8) Create a roadmap beyond SQL Server 2014

Consider the future, all software has a shelf life, so planning now for SQL Server 2014’s end of life is time well spent for you or your successors.

9) Communicate the business case

Besides moving your business off an unsupported database, your organisation is going to realise many additional benefits by migrating to SQL Server 2014. These include everything from greater speed, availability and scalability, through to support for Big Data, more security, and better compliance features.

 

Next steps

As mentioned in this blog intro, if you’re interested in learning more – we’ve created a more comprehensive version of these 9 steps in our Nexon white paper, ‘The 9 ‘Must-dos’ – your key steps for migrating to SQL Server 2014’.

DOWNLOAD

We hope you found this article helpful. If you’d like to know more about our Database Health Check and Database Monitoring Services, call Nexon by phone on 1300 800 000 or email sales@nexon.com.au.