SQL Server Modern Migration Tour – Cleveland Edition

The attendees of the Cleveland Modern Migration Tour

The Modern Migration Tour came to Cleveland on Tuesday, June 4. This event was sponsored by Microsoft, Intel, and PASS to help companies still running SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 learn about the tools Microsoft has provided to make upgrading easier. This is important as these versions of SQL Server go off Extended Support on July 9 this year.

As a long-time Data Platform MVP, and a longer-time user of SQL Server, I asked for (and was given) the privilege of presenting this session to the folks here in Cleveland, because I’ve done many version upgrades in the past, and could lend insight to the attendees as to issues they could encounter along the way, and to the benefits they’ll gain once they complete the upgrade. I was fortunate to have one of my former clients in the group, who was happy to share some of the challenges we faced as well as our success (even though he did have to miss the running of the Kentucky Derby that day.)

Microsoft has provided some great tools for planning and implementing the migration. Specifically, they include
Data Migration Assistant (DMA)
Database Experimentation Assistant (DEA)
Query Tuning Assistant (QTA)

These tools are free to download from Microsoft and will make the upgrade process much quicker, and help provide much better performance after the upgrade. Note that the Query Tuning Assistant is built into the 18.0 version of SQL Server Management Studio, which you can download any time.

The best thing (in my opinion) that I shared is that Microsoft is committed to supporting backward compatibility via the Compatibility Level setting in the database options, and that all releases of SQL Server after SQL Server 2008 support that version’s compatibility level (100), so you will be able to install SQL Server 2019 when it comes out, set the level to 100, and the functionality from SQL Server 2008 will still be supported. This will help with the upgrade decision process.

Please let me know if you’d like help with the upgrade process. I’ll be happy to help plan out the migration, help with performance and compatibility testing, and with the actual migration process to minimize downtime.