Editorial Rss

Do Multiple Versions Really Happen?

Dave Comments Online

"I am seeing companies looking for SQL Server developers frequently going back as far as SQL Server 2008"
"What’s your perception and experience? Is it realistic that companies concurrently use multiple versions of SQL Server and the ancilliary tools?"

You may not have a choice if you work at an ISV. My ISV still had customers on 2005 until 2013 which meant we only recently starting using things like MERGE, compression, and filestream in our product. Now our customers are stuck on 2008 R2 because the licensing is so prohibitive for 2012. I anticipate it will be another 3 years until customers have to do hardware refreshes that we finally get people up to at least 2012.
Dave pretty much brings out the core issue from my perspective as it relates to SQL Server specifically, and to other software packages as well. Professionals are always wanting to keep up with the latest version so they can keep their skills up to date. On the other hand, a business spends a great deal of money on software, and in most cases finds it difficult to justify an upgrade unless there is an issue with security or feature essential to their success.

With many software products and tools, the upgrades are often un-reasonable. They increase the cost whenever a dominant market share is achieved, and reduce the number of supported features, usually in the lower cost versions, forcing any upgrade to use a more expensive release. Any software vendor has a right to price in any fashion they deem reasonable. They will adjust when people find other means.

In the meantime, I believe it is reasonable to expect a number of versions to be present in a company. I am aware of companies still using SQL Server 2000 and also having all the versions through to 2012. It seems like the primary thing to make the older versions go away are security holes, and the software no longer being supported by the manufacturer. Windows XP is a great example of how software can hang on.

So, what does this mean to you as a professional either as a software developer or a sysops or sysadmin? Does it become so complicated you require tools such as Tivoli to keep it all going and documented? Are you running into issues where required features aren’t available because they are too new for the targeted instance of product X? 

Share your war stories. Only then can we begin to understand the scope of the problem, and begin to address it individually or as an industry.