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Is SQL Server Right for Your Midmarket Business?

21 Apr 2016 by Jessica Hall

While some things endure a long time, others grow outdated quickly — but nothing lasts forever. Smartphone apps change within months to accommodate bug fixes and more. Software can last for years, as the lifecycles of Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 show. And on April 12, 2016, support for SQL Server 2005 retired after 10 years. In the past decade, the database industry has transformed for the better.

Improved features make applications easier to manage and scale. Plus, not getting patches for bugs or having the option to contact Microsoft after support ends can potentially cause issues.

“Compliance problems can also be a result for organizations in financial services and other industries where regulations require the use of supported software,” said David Mayer, vice president of product management for software with Insight, in this recent CIO article.

Microsoft SQL Server provides fast performance, insights, builds and deployment. Delivering mission critical performance across all workloads, this solution also offers in-memory built-in, a hybrid cloud platform and management capabilities.

If you’re thinking of migrating your midmarket business from SQL Server 2012, or an earlier version, to a newer version of SQL Server, consider these five things:

New versions of SQL Server offer more capabilities.

“I think the biggest difference is the enterprise capabilities that Microsoft has added,” says Raheel Retiwalla, principal architect at BlueMetal, an Insight company. The benefits of SQL Server 2014 and SQL Server 2016 include enhancements in:

  • Availability
  • Disaster recovery
  • Performance
  • Business intelligence (BI)
  • Security

“Overall, it runs transactional applications faster due to in-memory innovation, and it offers better security, disaster recovery and availability,” adds Retiwalla.

Provide better insights, and faster.

Whether you select SQL Server 2014 or SQL Server 2016, the solution’s business intelligence offerings can drive real business value. Midmarket businesses are increasingly seeking technology that will help them supply their customers, partners and employees with valuable insights.

“SQL Server 2014 not only has strong reporting capabilities internally and externally, but at the same time, it has a lot of performance benefits to make sure that those analytics, insights and dashboards you're presenting and applications you’re embedding are running fast thereby meeting one of the key customer expectations users have today,” adds Retiwalla. SQL Server 2016 expands upon these capabilities even further.

Pay for what you use.

“One of the advantages SQL Server has always maintained is the cost licensing model,” Retiwalla says. No matter what your purpose for using SQL Server, there’s a licensing option that will meet your needs, covering only what you use.

The standard edition can also be a great fit for many midmarket companies, as it offers high availability, performance and basic reporting. Providing a lot of value, Retiwalla adds that this edition offers enough capabilities for you to “…build multiple types of applications on the same instance of SQL Server.” “The cost savings — and the value you’ll get from it — is significant,” he says.

Move to the cloud.

Another viable option to consider is the cloud version of SQL Server, Azure SQL. “The code base for the SQL Server 2014 running on premises is exactly the same as the one running in the cloud,” Retiwalla explains. With immense investments in the cloud, you can remain confident the transition to Microsoft Azure SQL will be simple and seamless.

David Mayer, vice president of product management for software at Insight, also encourages companies to consider Azure SQL as an option. “Instead of buying a new server, installing a bunch of software and then moving the data, an Azure SQL VM can be spun up in just a few minutes," he recently explained to CIO.

Consider holding out for SQL Server 2016.

SQL Server 2014 will meet the many midmarket businesses’ needs now; however, larger companies or those with complex requirements may want to consider waiting for SQL Server 2016, which is presently available as a release candidate and will beoffered to all later this year.

“SQL Server 2016 adds significantly more capabilities, ensuring enterprises can build modern applications,” says Retiwalla. He explains its enhancements relate to protecting data at rest and in motion, implementing mobile BI and providing a consistent experience between on-premise, private cloud and AzureTM SQL.

However, as you consider transitioning from an older version to a newer offering, it’s important that you understand the complexities of migrating. As Mayer said to CIO.com, upgrading SQL Server isn’t as simple as plugging in and running the new version. Applications that were built on your database may also need to undergo upgrades or modifications.

Is SQL Server right for you? Insight’s Microsoft specialists can help you select the right version, allowing you to maximize business performance. And, if your organization lacks the experience in consolidating Oracle, MySQL or other databases onto a newer version of SQL Server, there are Insight and BlueMetal services to ensure a successful migration. Talk to a specialist today.