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Back to the future: Why are you still running SQL Server 2005?

Ballard Chalmers was founded in 2005, so we have a fondness for and a good recollection of this particular year. Stepping into a time machine, you may have been at the cinema to find out why Anakin chose the Dark Side in the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode III and singing along (or not!) to James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful”. You may have had a Nokia in your pocket (which sounded like this), or if you were posh, a Blackberry and typed (Y) to produce an emoticon in BBM. You may have also been lugging around a laptop for emails and working from the new Windows 2005 OS. Meanwhile, a guy called Mark Zuckerberg was busy expanding into universities something called, whilst The News of the World was delivering exclusives for its front pages.

Moving on…

Arriving back in 2016, are you still using the same mobile phone from 2005? Or the same laptop for business? It’s highly unlikely. The world has moved on, not only to Star Wars Episode VII, Adele, tablets and segways, but in business to new capabilities in the form of the cloud and more technological advances than can be fit concisely into a single blog. SQL Server has moved on too.

When it was released over a decade ago SQL Server 2005 was at the forefront of relational database management technology. It was a significant release, coming five long years after its predecessor SQL Server 2000. It had many new features including: the ability to create stored procedures in C#; database schemas; database mirroring; the XML data type and XQuery; snapshot isolation to reduce locking issues and Service Broker. As a result SQL 2005 has served many organisations well and there has often not been a significant reason to upgrade to a later version such as 2008/R2/2012. However, today, its users risk losing the competitive edge with modern technology available. Support for 2005 is ending on April 12th and so now is the time to upgrade to SQL Server 2014.

SQL Server 2014 offers significant benefits over 2005 including general improved performance throughout; improved resilience through AlwaysOn Availability Groups; a number of Azure cloud hosting options such as SQL Azure, having cloud based database files, backups and AlwaysOn replicas. Clustered and non-clustered column store indexes provide improved data warehouse performance. The most significant new feature of all is an acceptance that memory is now cheap and that great performance gains can be made using Memory-Optimized tables, tables that exist entirely in memory. Memory can also be extended using Sold Sate Drives (SSDs). Finally, Natively Compiled Stored Procedures, which are written in T-SQL but are compiled to C and then a DLL, can offer truly massive performance gains for certain types of application.

Ballard Chalmers has been at the forefront SQL Server technology since the very first beta release by Microsoft. We know it inside out so are well-positioned to help you overcome challenges to upgrading and select the best option for your business. You would be hard-put to find better knowledge and experience of SQL Server in the UK, so we invite you to contact us for a free initial consultation to discuss migration strategies and the options available to you.

About the Author

Co-Founder and Managing Director, Andrew has over 30 years’ experience in business management. With consultant project manager, interim manager and Managing Director roles particularly in the engineering and manufacturing sector and over much of the world, Andrew brings the business-side experience to complement Geoff’s technical leadership. In 1998 Andrew created one of the very first cloud software development consultancies in the UK, which developed a very early-adoption corporate intranet for Hewlett Packard Europe amongst many other ground-breaking projects.


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