SQL Server 2017 is the most logical landing spot for users looking to upgrade from older releases, said Denny Cherry, founder and principal consultant at Denny Cherry Associates Consulting in Oceanside, Calif. Organizations with SQL Server 2016 systems are an exception, he added in an interview at the PASS event — in such cases, he recommended waiting for SQL Server 2019.
“If you’re on SQL Server 2016, you may want the features in 2017,” Cherry said. “But with 2019 just around the corner, it doesn’t make sense to do an upgrade and then have to do another one six months down the road.”
That also may be an option for users who face the need to do SQL Server upgrades because of Microsoft’s plan to stop supporting SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 next July.
In an interview before the conference, Tim Ford, a DBA at Mindbody Inc. in San Luis Obispo, Calif., said he expects many users of the 2008 releases to weigh whether they should “drift a little longer” until SQL Server 2019 is available or upgrade to SQL Server 2016 or 2017 in the meantime. SQL Server 2012 and 2014 are also still options, but they “probably aren’t great upgrade paths at this point,” Ford said.
Microsoft’s quicker release cadence makes the upgrade planning process more complex for SQL Server DBAs as a whole, said Ford, who also is an executive committee member on the board of the Professional Association for SQL Server, which organized PASS Summit 2018. “Being able to understand which version of SQL Server provides the features your organization needs is key,” he said.