Microsoft SQL Server has long been one of those products that you don’t upgrade unless you need to. Well, if you are currently still running SQL Server 2005 in your environment, now you need to. On April 12, 2016, extended support for SQL Server 2005 will end, meaning there will no longer be any security updates for the product. (April 12th — the same date that the Titanic sank. Don’t let this iceberg sink you.)
There is still time to stand up a new SQL Server and migrate databases. Of course, for each application that utilizes a SQL database, you’ll want to ensure compatibility with the new SQL version. By this point, practically all legal technology applications support SQL 2012, but confirm to be sure. Also, identify all connection points that need to be updated. Typically this just involves documenting the location of all connection strings or ODBC clients.
If building out an entire new server is not possible in a short time frame, SQL 2005 does support a side-by-side installation with SQL 2008 R2 or SQL 2012. This could act as a good stop-gap measure, allowing your firm more time to purchase an additional Windows Server license and spin up an entire new server.
This update also gives you an opportunity to think about a longer-term solution to improve your SQL infrastructure. Review your current licensing. We have seen firms discover that they own 30 SQL Standard licenses. These can likely be consolidated down to a clustered handful of servers, which can perhaps run SQL Server Enterprise instead. Enterprise allows you take advantage of many more features, including AlwaysOn Availability Groups (AAG) which can provide improved redundancy and a disaster recovery plan.
With security being an ever-increasing priority among law firms and their clients, you will want to ensure that all your critical data is running on properly supported platforms.