Illustration of SQL database placed on relational database tables.

Unleashing the Potential: The Benefits of Upgrading from SQL Server 2012

Since its initial release in the late ’80s, Microsoft SQL Server has been a pivotal player in the world of database management. Over the years, the product has undergone numerous updates and transformations to keep up with the changing technology landscape. One of these versions, SQL Server 2012, has been a dependable resource for many organizations over the last decade, but this version’s time is coming to an end with Microsoft announcing the End of Service date of October 10th, 2023.

However, newer versions of SQL Server (like SQL Server 2022) are better suited for modern computing and security demands. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of upgrading from SQL Server 2012 and highlight why making the move could be an absolute game-changer for your organization.

5 Enhancements SQL Server 2022 Brings to Your Organization

The end of support for SQL Server 2012 isn’t the only reason to upgrade, nor is it necessarily the most compelling. Consider five additional reasons to upgrade to SQL Server 2022.

1. Improved Performance

Newer versions of SQL Server allow databases to handle more data, complex queries, and concurrent users with less strain on the server. For instance, the In-Memory OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) feature, introduced in SQL Server 2014, significantly improved transactional performance by allowing data storing and manipulation directly in memory, reducing disk I/O overhead. Further enhancements in the 2022 version improve memory management in large memory servers. Additionally, the newest SQL server adds intelligent query processing, which builds on pre-processing, adding the ability to learn, adapt, and enhance the efficiency of existing workloads with minimal implementation effort.

2. Enhanced Security

Security is a non-negotiable feature of any database management system. Over time, Microsoft has introduced more robust security measures with each SQL Server version. Features like Always Encrypted, Row-Level Security, and Dynamic Data Masking (introduced in SQL Server 2016 and improved in later versions) offer more granular control over who can access what data and how much they can see. SQL Server 2022 makes security even more robust by streamlining Microsoft Defender for Cloud and Microsoft Purview integration. These features and other security enhancements help protect your database from anywhere, provide advanced monitoring tools, and give admins deeper access control (i.e., server-level roles).

3. Extended Support

Microsoft provides 10 years of support for each SQL Server version, divided into two phases: mainstream (functional, performance, scalability, and security updates) and extended (only security updates). As of this writing, SQL Server 2012 is past its mainstream support phase and rapidly approaching the end of its extended support phase. By upgrading, you can ensure continued Microsoft backing, including vital security updates, bug fixes, and technical assistance.

4. Advanced Analytics and Machine Learning Integration

Starting with SQL Server 2016, Microsoft began integrating advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities directly into SQL Server, which has been further enhanced in subsequent versions. As a result, data scientists and analysts can run R and Python scripts within the database server itself, significantly improving performance and the ability to work with larger datasets. SQL Server 2022 allows users to leverage Azure Synapse Link for SQL, providing real-time analytics over operational data. Other analytics enhancements enable the SQL Server to integrate with S3-compatible storage and provide more data virtualization capabilities.

5. Improved High Availability and Disaster Recovery

Newer SQL Server versions have also introduced and refined several features aimed at improving availability and disaster recovery, including Always On availability groups. These provide a more flexible and reliable failover environment, reducing the impact of a disaster and minimizing downtime. SQL 2022 allows users to create Always On availability groups that manage their own metadata objects and provide specialized contained system databases for even more precise control. Users can also easily connect distributed resources with Azure Cloud for cloud-based disaster recovery options.

Align Your Server Technology With Modern Computing Needs

While SQL Server 2012 has served many businesses faithfully over the years, the technological landscape has shifted, and with it, the demands placed on database systems. By upgrading your server platforms to include a newer version of SQL Server, organizations can enjoy better performance, improved security, extended support, and access to advanced analytics capabilities. The upgrade may require an initial investment of time and resources, but the potential benefits make it a compelling proposition for any business serious about data management.

Equus Compute Solutions can help you simplify SQL server upgrade process. We’re a Microsoft partner that provides full-lifecycle solution support. We’ve got you covered, starting with design and deployment, and continuing through management and decommissioning. Contact us for a free consultation.