When Microsoft announced the actual release date for SQL 2014 many modern businesses simply looked at the latest database offering from Microsoft and saw just that: new software. Sure, it's easy to get caught up in all the features - like enhanced BI tools, easier management through Always On, enhanced memory utilization, and the ease of scaling your on-premise SQL deployment to the Azure platform. Since it's been ranked the most secure database platform for the last five years running, it is simple to see why so many IT Directors and CTO/CIOs are jumping ship from Oracle and shifting their platforms to SQL. There are a plethora of high-end capabilities that businesses are able to leverage from this incredible software. I, however, want to focus on something that might go unnoticed by far too many. That something is timing.
When Microsoft released SQL 2012 in March of 2012 it changed the way everyone looked at Software Assurance (SA) benefits. Ground breaking features like Always On, host virtualization rights, and memory utilization of up to 4TB where dwarfed by the importance of new version upgrade rights. Decision makers who were content for years to purchase one-processor licenses were sticker shocked when they saw a quote for a high-capacity two-processor machine. If only they had SA - there would have been a license grant to move in a manner that was far less expensive. SQL 2014 was not released with the same dramatic change in licensing structure as its predecessor. However the importance of SA is once again at the forefront.
It's only been two years since 2012 was released - just two years. Microsoft has warned us that they would shorten their product release window for server products. No longer would they simply revise titles. Instead, they'd be doing much more. The result is that SQL 2014 truly is a NEW product release with entirely NEW applications and palpable NEW features - which brings us to an important point. In the past, Microsoft has urged the purchase of SA, however many SMBs didn't see the value. Maybe they saw this as spending extra money on software that won't be cut off for nearly 10 years. But that thinking is no longer valid. With Microsoft's new stance on software, SQL 2014 may be woefully outdated by the time 2024 comes around. For new purchases, this means SA will become your new best friend and keep your software updated and running smoothly for years to come.