3 Ways to Lift and Shift Your SQL Server 2008 Operations to the Cloud

  • May 9, 2019 - by Synoptek
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July 9, 2019, marks the end of the line for two popular programs to manage database systems. Microsoft is ending support for both SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 Release 2 (R2) on that day.

Although SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will still work on July 9 and beyond, they won’t receive regular security updates — which has some serious ramifications.

What’s the big deal?

Without any more security updates for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2, any new security vulnerabilities discovered on July 9 and beyond won’t be patched. Hackers like to exploit vulnerabilities in software to gain access to companies’ computers and networks. Furthermore, the database applications won’t be protected against new types or strains of malware. Not being protected against new threats is risky, especially given that cybercriminals often keep track of when versions of popular programs are no longer supported. Once applications reach this point, cybercriminals intentionally launch new attacks that target the unsupported programs.

To protect database systems against these threats, companies can purchase Extended Security Updates if they have SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2 licenses with active Software Assurance subscriptions. However, this solution is far from ideal. Companies need to purchase these updates annually, with the price increasing each year. More important, Microsoft will be offering Extended Security Updates for only three years, which means companies will eventually need to upgrade anyway. A better solution for most companies is to advance to a more recent version of SQL Server now rather than delay the inevitable.

Businesses can, of course, upgrade their database software to a more recent on-premises version. For example, they might migrate their database operations from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2017. However, doing so is complex and time-consuming. Alternatively, companies can “lift and shift” their SQL Server operations to the cloud, which could be much easier and quicker than upgrading on-premises software.

Amazon Web Service lift-and-shift options

Given the fact that Microsoft is ending support for SQL Server 2008, migrating to AWS is a great way to rehost SQL instances to AWS VMs – with no application code changes. There are several lift-and-shift options that organizations can choose from to migrate their deployments with little to no modification. The options not only help avoid an expensive application rewrite, but also aid in optimizing workloads in no time – making the entire migration cheaper, faster, more secure and more reliable.

The first option is for organizations to leverage the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) and receive Windows migration funding credits from AWS. The program is designed to help enterprises achieve benefit from consulting support, training and services credits to reduce the risk of migrating to the cloud. It enables them to build a strong operational foundation and offset the initial cost of migrations. Organizations can leverage a robust set of tools to automate and accelerate common migration scenarios and make the most of time-tested methodologies for a successful migration.

Another option is for organizations to rehost SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 with no application code changes in AWS VMs. By moving SQL workloads to AWS, organizations can ensure consistent operations and live migrations – without making any changes to the underlying code. Since the AWS infrastructure is optimized for security and compliance regulations, organizations can benefit from the latest enhancements and security updates and successfully meet compliance requirements.

A third option is for organizations to bring existing Microsoft licensing to AWS. Organizations can use existing licenses with Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts, Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances and EC2 instances – with or without Software Assurance. By bringing their own licenses into the AWS cloud, organizations can extend the lifecycle of their SQL workloads, and expedite migration to the AWS cloud – without additional hardware costs.

The end is closer than you think

Tuesday, July 9, 2019, the day that Microsoft is ending their support and no longer providing regular security updates for SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2, is not very far away. If you’re still running Microsoft SQL Server 2008, now is the time to decide how to you want to proceed.

As an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, Synoptek can analyze your systems and help you identify the best choice for your business. Contact us today.