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End of life of Microsoft SQL Server 2012

SoftwareOne blog editorial team
Blog Editorial Team

Why it’s 5 after 12 and the 4 options you have!

As you may know, the End of Life (EoL) of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 came into effect on 12 July 2022. Since then, customers have not received any security updates from Microsoft. Without these critical updates, however, your organisation may not be adequately prepared for potential threats, making it more susceptible to vulnerability patching, which can lead to higher costs and compliance issues over time. We’ll show you what you can do. 

Doing nothing is not an option! 

Of course, you can continue to use your SQL Server 2012 as is. However, if you choose to do nothing, you must be aware that you will be defenceless in the event of an attack on your data centres or servers. Our Microsoft Licensing Statement (MLS) report gives you clarity about the security status of your infrastructure. Your current licence agreement can also be a good starting point to help you find the best way to ensure your security, comply with regulations and optimise costs.  

If doing nothing seems too risky, you should read on. 

What are my options? 

You have the following options if you are running SQL Server 2012 and wondering what to do next: 

Option 1: Purchase Extended Security Updates (ESU) for your SQL Server 2012 applications:

  1. They are sold in 1-year increments.
  2. They can only be purchased as part of an Enterprise Agreement (EA).
  3. You can only purchase licences that are covered by Software Assurance (SA).

The following offers were introduced effective 1 October 2023: 

Extended Security Updates (ESUs) 

CSP partners will be able to offer ESUs for end-of-support versions of Windows Server and SQL Server. 

Customers then have the right to use licences covered by ESUs on deployments on-premises or within outsourced environments running at authorised outsourcers. Customers may also apply ESU licences to “licence-included” workloads acquired from Services Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) partners or CSP-Hosters. 

CSP-Hoster partners will also be able to provide hosted fulfilment of Windows Server and SQL Server software out of mainstream support that is supported by corresponding ESU licences also purchased as “licence included” or “bring your own licence” (BYOL). 

ESU eligibility requirements

Customers must have Software Assurance (SA) or equivalent subscription to purchase the relevant ESU. Open-ended licences are not qualified. 

However, customers do not need SA or a subscription to use ESUs with services included in the licence purchased from SPLA providers. 

Rules for ESU prerequisites 

For years 2 and 3 of each ESU, customers must have purchased the respective previous year(s). For example, to use year 3 ESU, the customer must also have purchased years 1 and 2. 

Option 2: Upgrade to SQL Server 2022

Customers requiring a local solution can upgrade to SQL Server 2022. This version will be provided with security patches for the duration of the support period. If you are planning to upgrade but cannot do so at short notice, we suggest that you purchase ESUs to cover you until the upgrade is complete. 

Option 3: Migration Ihres SQL Server 2012 zu Azure

We recommend you take the long view and migrate your applications and workloads to Azure to ensure they run securely. Azure SQL Managed Instance is fully managed and continuously updated (PaaS). Customers can also upgrade to virtual Azure machines, including Azure Dedicated Host, Azure VMware, and Azure Stack (Hub, HCI, Edge), to receive three more years of free extended security updates at no additional cost. 

There is no way around the cloud if you want to join the AI revolution and use innovative AI applications such as Microsoft Copilot. So you can kill two birds with one stone. 

Option 4: Connect to Azure Arc

Azure Arc is a hybrid cloud solution. With Azure Arc, you can manage your global inventory of SQL Servers, protect SQL Server instances with Azure Security Center, and regularly assess and optimise the health of your SQL Server configurations. You will need to purchase Azure Arc yourself but we will be happy to advise you.  

We have summarised the key points in the diagram below to give you an overview:  




Start your database migration to the cloud: SoftwareOne Infrastructure & Database Assessment

If you choose option 2 or 3, we can recommend our Infrastructure & Database Assessment. Choosing the right database strategy requires a detailed analysis of your organisation’s specific requirements and resources.  

The assessment includes the following services:

  • Comprehensive analysis of your current IT infrastructure
  • Detailed interpretation of the results
  • Presentation of possible Windows Server and SQL operating models in Azure
  • Definition of the target architecture
  • Cost neutrality through subsidised Microsoft programmes

Together we will find the right solution for you.

To Infrastructure & Database Assessment

Productivity, efficiency, and cost savings with SoftwareOne’s Application Modernisation Services

If you decide to upgrade to SQL Server 2022, our experts will be happy to assist you. Eliminating technical legacy issues gives you the flexibility to respond to your business needs, while modernisation removes technical vulnerabilities so you can focus on new features.  

SoftwareOne’s Application Modernisation Services help you assess, plan, develop, and deploy modernised applications. Do not hesitate to contact us.

To SoftwareOne’s Application Modernisation Services

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Do you have any questions about our assessments?

Please do not hesitate to contact us via the contact form, stating your requirements and referring to our Infrastructure & Database Assessment.

Do you have any questions about our assessments?

Please do not hesitate to contact us via the contact form, stating your requirements and referring to our Infrastructure & Database Assessment.


SoftwareOne blog editorial team

Blog Editorial Team

We analyse the latest IT trends and industry-relevant innovations to keep you up-to-date with the latest technology.