Microsoft will end support for SQL Server 2005 in April next year. As the product’s end of life clock ticks down, it’s time for Microsoft Dynamics GP customers to start thinking about how to respond.

What are your options? After April 2016, you can choose to either:

  • keep using SQL Server 2005 with no support or patches, or
  • upgrade to SQL Server 2012 or 2014 in house or migrate to a hosted environment with Professional Advantage utilising Microsoft Azure.

Each of these options will impact your Microsoft Dynamics GP environment differently. Let’s take a look at each option in more detail.

 

Keep using SQL Server 2005

If you’re happy using SQL Server 2005, you don’t need to rush out and upgrade just because end of life is near. If your SQL Server 2005 currently responds to transactional statements and can record and change data without issues, it will continue to do so after it reaches end of life.

Dynamics GP will not be affected if you keep using SQL Server 2005.

There is also little security risk in using an unsupported database engine like SQL Server 2005. Although at Professional Advantage we tend to recommend against using unsupported operating systems because they can expose security vulnerabilities, this is unlikely with SQL Server 2005.

However, hardware doesn’t last forever, newer hardware often may not have support for the Windows Sever version required for SQL 2005.  That’s a clear sign that you need to upgrade.

 

Upgrade to newer products

If you’re going to upgrade, now is the time to do it. Microsoft has warned that migration from SQL Server 2005 may take longer than anticipated, but it also says performance improvements are worth it.

However, for many organisations, it’s not as simple as moving from SQL Server 2005 straight to SQL Server 2014, either in-house or hosted somewhere, like Azure. We wish it were that easy!

Before you upgrade to a newer SQL Server version, you should make sure any applications using SQL are supported on later versions of SQL Server. This includes Dynamics GP.

 

What to do if your Dynamics GP version is not supported

While older versions of Dynamics GP are compatible with SQL Server 2005, they may not work on later SQL Server versions.  Hosting platforms such as Microsoft Azure may also be unable to offer support for SQL 2005.

This means that when you upgrade your SQL Server, you will also need to upgrade Dynamics GP to a supported version.

Some organisations assume that their SQL Server 2005 would have been upgraded when they moved on from the now unsupported Windows Server 2003. However depending on when the move from Windows Server 2003 was done you may find your SQL 2005 server may still be in use, so it’s worth double checking.

In the Dynamics GP world, we migrate Dynamics GP to the later supported versions of SQL (2012 or 2014) at the time of the Dynamics GP upgrade. If hosting including moving to Azure is being considered, the time of the Dynamics GP upgrade is the ideal time to migrate.

 

What about my office PCs?

If you’re using the older Microsoft XP operating system, you will definitely need a desktop upgrade or refresh to at least a Windows 7 operating system, or preferably Windows 10 or Windows 8.1.

 

What to do next

The best thing SQL Server 2005 and Dynamics GP customers can do in the next 30 days is to find out what’s involved in upgrading and which option will suit your organisation best. Talk to your account manager now; you’ll need to get the ball rolling soon to upgrade before April 2016.

For a FREE 30-minute consultation about upgrading your SQL Server and Dynamics GP versions without the hassle, call Professional Advantage today on 1800 126 499.

 

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You can read more about Professional Advantage and Microsoft Dynamics GP here.

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