The end of support for SQL Server 2012 is rapidly approaching on July 12, 2022. After end of support, no more security patches will be issued unless you take action to protect your SQL Server 2012 with Extended Security Updates (ESU). If you’re still weighing the options, this blog can help choose the best course of action to keep your SQL Server protected and supported. We evaluated different choices including upgrading, purchasing Extended Security Updates, and moving to Azure for free security patches. And we found that for many people, moving SQL Server 2012 to the cloud can have the lowest total cost of ownership—as much as 69 percent less than purchasing Extended Security Updates on-premises.
Stay protected on-premises or in Azure
If you need more time to upgrade or modernize, you can still run your workloads in the existing infrastructure. However, to protect databases after the end of support deadline, you will have to purchase three more years of Extended Security Updates. The cost of on-premises Extended Security Updates is 75 percent of the price of a SQL Server license in year one, 100 percent of the price of a SQL Server license in year two, and 125 percent of the price of a SQL Server license in year three.
If you choose to modernize on-premises, upgrading to SQL Server 2019 allows you to benefit from industry-leading security and performance, the ability to break down data silos, added business continuity scenarios, and deployment flexibility. You can get access to the latest version of SQL Server through the New Version Rights benefit of Software Assurance, or by purchasing new SQL Server licenses.
If you decide to move SQL Server to Azure Virtual Machines, you will gain access to free Extended Security Updates for up to three years after SQL Server 2012 end of support. We continue to innovate to make Azure Virtual Machines the best destination for your SQL Server by adding to our hardware options and suite of free manageability capabilities enabled by SQL Server IaaS Agent extension. Registering with SQL Server IaaS Agent extension also allows you to configure a maintenance window and turn on optional automated patching.
The free Extended Security Updates offer also extends to other destinations in Azure including Azure Dedicated Host, Azure VMWare Solution, and hybrid destinations such as Azure Stack HCI.
If you’re ready to not only move to Azure but to modernize to a managed database, Azure SQL Managed Instance is a fully managed service with evergreen SQL that never needs to be patched or upgraded. With SQL Managed Instance, you can confidently modernize your existing apps at scale by combining your experience with familiar tools, skills, and resources and do more with what you already have.
Customers like Forever 21 made the decision to migrate end-of-life SQL Server workloads to Azure, moving from on-premises to Windows Server, and SQL Server to Azure Virtual Machines. This allowed Forever 21 the flexibility to scale resources at will. To make the deal even better, Forever 21 used Azure Hybrid Benefit which lowered their total cost of ownership by allowing use of existing on-premises Windows Server and SQL Server licenses in Azure. This resulted in a 20 percent annual saving on software licenses, and server and network infrastructure, amounting to $250,000.
“With Azure, we were able to cope with more sessions and more online customers than we’d ever seen—by almost 50 percent. Ultimately, by scaling our presence in Azure, we got through our biggest holiday season ever without a hitch.”—Kevin Diamond, Head of Global E-Commerce, Forever 21
Reaping the benefits of moving to Azure
You may feel that your current SQL Server infrastructure is fully depreciated and staying on it is low- or no-cost. Or you may be concerned about migration costs. By moving to Azure, not only do you save with free Extended Security Updates, but you can also save with Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server and SQL Server, allowing you to reuse existing licenses. Migrating your application to Azure enables you to strengthen your information security, while consistently meeting compliance regulations.
Example one: Purchasing Extended Security Updates versus free updates in Azure
When it comes to deciding to upgrade, migrate, or stay in place, the numbers year after year tell the entire story. Running your end-of-life SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines allows you to both strengthen your security and save. Here’s how:
- Receive SQL Server 2012 Extended Security Updates for up to three additional years.
- Receive critical security patches for an additional year on SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 (in Azure only).
- Gain access to continued product support through existing technical support contracts.
In the comparison below, we looked at the price to migrate sixteen cores of SQL Server 2012 to Azure virtual machines including eight cores of Standard edition and eight cores of Enterprise edition. A customer who did this would save $30,673 in the first year by purchasing Extended Security Updates on-premises.1 This represents a 69 percent savings over staying in your datacenter.
Example two: Free Extended Security Updates in Azure versus moving to other clouds
In Azure, customers running SQL Server 2012 save significantly compared to AWS. On top of three years of free Extended Security Update patching, customers can save money by re-using SQL Server and Windows Server licenses in the cloud through Azure Hybrid Benefit
In the example below, we evaluated moving sixteen cores of SQL Server to Azure VMs using Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server and SQL Server against moving sixteen cores of Azure to AWS EC2 using SQL Server License Mobility. Compared to staying on-premises or moving to AWS, the Azure customer also benefitted from free Extended Security Updates.
In this example, the customer can obtain the best total cost of ownership by moving to Azure VMs–saving $46,910 over purchasing Extended Security Updates and running on AWS.1
Make moving SQL Server 2012 to Azure before the July 12, 2022 end of support deadline part of your plan. Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 end of support is coming up on October 10, 2023, so planning for your operating system is also critical. When you migrate SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 to Azure Virtual Machines you will get three more years of Extended Security Updates for free! This not only buys you more time to work on upgrading or modernizing your applications in the cloud, but it also lowers your costs.
Visit the following pages to get started on your journey today:
- Azure migration and modernization center resources for every stage of your cloud migration.
- SQL Server and Windows Server End of Support resource page.
- Product lifecycle FAQ—Extended Security Updates documentation.
1Azure pricing is based on the East US 2 region, AWS pricing on the US East (Ohio) region. Actual savings may vary based on region, instance size, and compute family. Prices as of January 20, 2022, are subject to change. The below example also uses Azure Hybrid benefit for Windows Server and SQL Server in Azure and license mobility for SQL Server in AWS.