Yes, really. So what?

Several times in the last week I've heard of people denigrating anyone who is still running SQL Server 2000 (paraphrasing):

How can they possibly still be running on a version that old? Why on Earth haven't they upgraded? *Everyone's* on something more recent. 2000 is old and sucky, so you guys must be too.

And the like.

To me this attitude demonstrates a naiveté about the industry and the financial, regulatory, and practical realities that many SQL Server users face.

Let me give you three examples:

  • A client of ours builds software that runs casinos. If you run a casino in the state of Washington, you have no choice except to run SQL Server 2000 as that's the only version of SQL Server that the gaming board has certified.
  • A level-1 trauma center whose internal pharmacies run pick-n-place robots that are controlled from SQL Server 2000. Replacing them would cost $millions and would introduce dangerous risk into a very stable pharmacy system.
  • A major retailer that runs SQL Server 2000 in several thousand stores across the country on a wide variety of hardware. Upgrading will introduce a huge amount of risk and complexity so it's being put off until absolutely necessary. 

And then there are all the people who rely on a 3rd-party product that isn't certified on more recent versions. If it works, why introduce risk by upgrading just for the sake of it?

SQL Server 2000 was a really solid release, and with SP4, it's a really stable database platform. Yes, it's old and support ends next year, but we'll see people using it for many years to come.

[Edit: And yes, it's hard to support - we're even reluctant to take on clients with it - but it's out there - and for many good reasons.]

As an aside, when I left DEC/Compaq in early 1999 we'd just finished working on V7.2 and I remember Intel was still running chip fab lines on V5.5-2, the latest maintenance release for V5 that was released in 1988. Why? Because it was incredibly stable and switching things out on the fab lines was going to be wicked expensive. Ah – the good old days of DEC and VMS… (see here for more of my nostalgia for that…)

Next time you hear of someone on a 2000 system, before berating them and looking like a fool, ask them *why* they're still on 2000.

If you're still on 2000 (or earlier) for some systems, I'd love to hear about what's holding you there…