It’s no secret that SQL Server 2008 has come too soon for most SQL Server customers. Many of the organizations that I’ve talked with are still in the process of deploying SQL Server 2005. For those businesses, a few delays in the final SQL Server 2008 code release are actually good news. However, when SQL Server 2008 is released later this year, many of those businesses will have a decision to make: Should they migrate from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005, or should they jump directly to SQL Server 2008?

From 2000 to 2008

At this year’s TechEd 2008 IT Professionals, Sheila Molnar, lead editor for SQL Server Magazine, and I asked Fausto Ibarra, a director of product management for SQL Server at Microsoft, this question, as well as a few others. Ibarra explained that in the past, Microsoft has advocated migrating from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005 because SQL Server 2008 wasn’t ready and the upgrade to SQL Server 2005 would let organizations take advantage of the immediate business value that SQL Server offers.

However, after SQL Server 2008 is released, customers could migrate directly to SQL Server 2008. Ibarra pointed out that migrating from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2008 will be a fully supported scenario. Customers who are still running SQL Server 2000 will be able to migrate directly to SQL Server 2008 without first having to upgrade to SQL Server 2005. This is welcome news not only for those customers who are considering migrating from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005 in the near future, but also for those who won’t be ready to migrate from SQL Server 2000 for some time.

New Features

SQL Server 2008 is an especially compelling release for customers still running SQL Server 2000 because it includes all the functionality found in SQL Server 2005, in addition to many new features. After you’ve run SQL Server 2005 for awhile, it’s easy to take for granted some of its important enhancements. SQL Server 2005 introduced support for SQLCLR and database mirroring, not to mention new major subsystems such as SQL Server Integration Services, SQL Server Reporting Services, and SQL Server Service Broker. SQL Server 2008 includes an impressive collection of new features as well as a majority of the features that were originally planned for SQL Server 2005 but were cut from that release because of resource and/or time constraints.

Some of the features that SQL Server 2008 brings to the table are database compression and database backup compression; transparent data encryption; new date, time, and spatial data types; and a new FILESTREAM data type. Other important SQL Server 2008 features include the Resource Governor, which manages resource allocation for long-running queries, and Policy-based Management, which lets you enforce database and server standards across all the SQL Server 2008 systems in your organization.

Make the Jump

If you’re still running SQL Server 2000, next year will be a great time to make the jump to SQL Server 2008. Direct migration is fully supported by Microsoft, and SQL Server 2008 will offer many new features that can bring a lot of value to your business.