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Step 2: Target destinations for each application and workload

As you know, the end of support deadline for SQL Server 2005 is on April 12, 2016. In this three- part blog series, we are discussing important steps to take as you plan your upgrade. In our last post, we walked through the importance of discovering what’s running in your IT environment before you begin the actual upgrade process. Running the Map Assessment Tool Kit can really help get you on track for developing an efficient upgrade plan.

After you’ve collected data on what’s running in your IT environment, the next step to think about is where you’ll run your upgraded databases. When it comes to modernizing your data platform, you have a few options for where to move applications and workloads. You can upgrade your on-premises servers, implement virtual machines or move to the cloud — most likely you’ll choose some combination of the three.

We’ve put together the SQL Server Upgrade Target Decision Tool to help you think through this process, compare your options, and identify upgrade targets based on your individual business needs.

Consolidation and virtualization

Upgrading is the perfect time to look for ways to gain efficiency and manage performance — in this case, we’re talking about consolidation and virtualization. The following diagram highlights how you might approach consolidating and virtualizing your applications and workloads as well as taking Web applications to the cloud with Azure SQL Database.

You can move certain applications and processes to upgraded on-premises servers to get the reliable performance you need for mission-critical tasks.

If you choose to virtualize using Windows Server Hyper-V or Azure VMs, one of the great benefits of virtualization is that you can run multiple applications or workloads on the same server while each maintains its own separate environment. Another benefit is that Azure VMs help further reduce total cost of ownership and increase availability. Because Azure VMs are hosted in the cloud, you can leverage the high availability of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure while reducing capital expense for purchasing your own hardware and related IT costs.

Another option is to consolidate multiple databases or instances using Windows Server and Hyper-V to reduce IT sprawl, increase efficiency and free up resources for new tasks.

Moving your Web applications to the cloud and reducing administration is possible using Azure SQL Database, which is a database-as-a-service in the cloud. With this option, you get the benefits of a cloud infrastructure with enterprise-grade security and scale, high availability, superior performance and near-zero maintenance.

Ready for increased ROI?

According to a Microsoft-commissioned Forrester Consulting study1, analysis based on information from interviewed businesses resulted in a 9.5-month payback when migrating to SQL Server 2012 or 2014. Check out the SQL Server Upgrade Target Decision Tool to compare target impacts and specific upgrade features.

For more detailed information to help you plan your custom data platform upgrade, take a look at Directions from Microsoft’s report, “Migrating From SQL Server 2005.”

In the final blog in this series, we’ll talk through some common upgrade strategies. Come back here to learn ways to approach the upgrade process effectively.

1Microsoft-commissioned Forrester Consulting study: The Total Economic Impact™ of Microsoft SQL Server, July 2014