Upgrading your SQL server – Reasons to do so and a few things to check before doing so

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SQL server 2016 is a sizeable release of Microsoft with some really intriguing reasons to consider an upgrade in order to offer added value to your already existing business intelligence, data warehousing environment and analytics. SQL server migration is the name of the process of changing a previous implementation of SQL server and migrating up to the newer version or an altogether different location for making a strategic decision. If you’re running a business and you think you’re getting outdated due to the SQL server that you’re using and you see your competitors march forward, it’s high time you consider upgrading your SQL server to the latest one in the market, which is the version 2016.

Planning your SQL server upgrade is perhaps the most vital step that you need to take if you wish to avoid all kinds of problems. Creating upgradation paths for SQL servers from version to another is a task which every DBA (Database administrator) is eager to work on but ultimately this is a process which is indeed tough to undertake. Upgrading a server is not at all an easy task and in case you don’t plan properly, there are high chances of delays and derailments. When you’re all set to devise your upgrade paths, you should break down your job into 3 different groups, pre, during and post upgradation.

SQL server upgrade paths – Things to check before the upgrade

Migrating from one SQL server to another just makes one feel confident about not having to face any kind of troubleshooting issues in the long run. But do you know whether or not the update that you’re about to make is going to be the best for you? Here are some points to check out.

  • Using the advisor version of SQL 2014: The UA or Upgrade Advisor of SQL Server is just an advisor and it works more like a SQL Server consultant which doesn’t fix anything that has gone wrong. It just advises you on the actions that you need to take while upgrading to SQL 2014. The UA is a good way of fixing those things that need attention before migration. As it won’t identify every single detail, you would require playing the role of a DBA while migrating to the newer version.
  • Go through the ‘changes’ section: Are you aware that Microsoft publishes the list of changes of every new SQL server online? Well, you should go through them so that you get to know the things that will be familiar to you and those that won’t be familiar. While you don’t need to memorize them, you can just be familiar with them so that you can confront any odd behavior with confidence. You would at least know if it was written in the ‘changes’ section.
  • Review the behavioral changes section online: This is similar to the previous point but the behavioral changes are that section which can still impact you in a detrimental manner. These are worth reviewing as you can be careful about what happens once you already upgrade to the newer version. Keep a close watch on both the SQL server features and the database engine.

Top reasons to upgrade to SQL Server 2016 – Features that are coming to this update

Reports suggest that SQL 2016 has a large number of major changes which will help you irrespective of whether you’re implementing in Azure, on-perm or in a hybrid model. It was just the last week when Microsoft released the SQL Server 2016. If you’re not aware of the feathers that are attached to this server’s cap, here are some that you may consider.

  1. Query store: One of the most common problems which most organizations face while migrating to a newer version of SQL server is the unwanted changes in the query optimizer which in turn negatively affects the performance. Without the right kind of testing, this has been a tough issue to identify and then solve it. With the Query Store feature, there will be a history of query execution plans and through which you can easily identify queries which got slower recently. This has been configured at the initial level of the database.
  2. Polybase: Big Data and Hadoop have been in the rage for a couple of year. Hadoop is cost-effective way of storing huge amounts of data. Microsoft has introduced this feature called Polybase which is an SQL server connector to Hadoop. Recently Microsoft has incorporated the functionality into the basic on-premises product. You can benefit from this feature if you deal with a lot of larger text files. A very common situation where you can use this is an ETL (extract, transform and load) process where you were taking a portion of the text file to the database.
  3. JSON Support: Apart from supporting direct querying to Hadoop, SQL server 2016 also adds the required amount of support for lingua franca of web applications, which is called JSON or the Java Script Object Notation. There are many other databases which had added this kind of support within the last few years as there has been a trend towards Web APIs using JSON being increased. The way in which this has been implemented in SQL 2016 is pretty effective for letting it work with enough valour.
  4. Encryption always: Every month we come to know about a company which suffers from major data breach. For such cases, encryption works but there are too many companies that don’t implement it through their work. With the new SQL server update, always encryption is rather a new function that has been incorporated.

Therefore, if you’re thinking of an upgrade, opt for SQL server consultancy from professional SQL server consultants who can help you with the best advice on upgrading from one version to another in order to enhance the efficiency of your business operations. Make sure you check out the things that you need to do before an upgrade.

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