It was Nov 2005, doesn’t seam that long ago to me granted it was the end of 2005 and I was going to the “Rock the Launch” to help as a volunteer with my local user group. The big discussion topics that we were hearing from the audience focused around the release cycle. Questions came up about “why did Microsoft wait 5 years to release the new product” to “Will it be another 5 years before we see the next version?” There was a strong group of people that were discussing that this was just too long between releases. The thing that occurred to me as our local Developer Evangelist was speaking was I know there are companies that are still running SQL Server 6.5, they could not upgrade to SQL Server 7.0 or even SQL Server 2000.
Now we sit post SQL Server 2008 Launch I reflect back to the places that I know were on SQL Server 6.5 less then 18 months later and we now have a new version of SQL Server. From my looks into the new version I am excited to see the new features but I can not help looking back and thinking 18 months ago some DBA’s were trying to get away from SQL Server 6.5. By this time next year we are going to be supporting at least 3 versions of SQL Server in Production (2000, 2005, and 2008), are we ready for the new challenges or are these challenges really that new? We know that we should try to keep our systems up and running on the most current release, but are there times when we should stay on an older version.
As a speaker, author I try to stay to the most recent version when I work teaching a session on SQL Server. The problem that I think we are going to start seeing is there are new people coming into the field everyday. There is plenty of reading material for them to learn from about older versions if they are required to support it, but what about peer support? As a DBA I focus on keeping the pressure on 3rd party vendors to make sure they support the newest version of SQL Server and that they have plans on how to support the next version. Should we as DBA’s be prepared for the rest of our careers to support 3 or even 4 versions of the same product because vendors are not upgrading software? What do you think is the ideal release cycle?