More than half of all SQL Server instances are out-of-date and unsupported!

Back in May I started a survey to collect build numbers to see how up-to-date people keep their SQL Server instances and I’ve been putting off writing this post as I wanted to do justice to the data.

I received results for 3085 SQL Server instances from several hundred respondents – thank you! I broke down the results from @@VERSION using some T-SQL code and then used information from http://sqlserverbuilds.blogspot.com/ to figure out what each build number corresponded to.

Here are the summarized results:

Release   Instances    Survey %    Out-Of-Date %    Unsupported %
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7.0       1            0.03%       100%             100%
2000      164          5.32%       82.93%           100%
2005      1285         41.65%      67.08%           67.08%
2008      394          12.77%      41.12%           41.12%
2008 R2   1058         34.29%      43.48%           43.48% (25% more from October)
2012      182          5.90%       24.73%           0% (24.73% more from November)

My definition of “out-of-date” is basically not being on the latest SP for the release. I know that many people do not like updating with every Cumulative Update so it was hard to make any more finessed decision than that. My definition of “Unsupported” is based on the Microsoft Support site for each release, which I’ve linked to in the detailed results below.

I think the results are quite amazing.

51% of all instances in the survey are out of date, by at least not being on the latest SP build, and 53% of all instances in the survey are unsupported.

That’s just incredible. Granted that my results are only from several hundred people, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say I believe this is representative of the state of the installed SQL Server base.

I urge you all to check your SQL Server instances to make sure they’re running as close to the latest build as possible, so you have the most bug fixes and are supported if you do have a problem. I realize that there are many reasons to still be running an older version of SQL Server (e.g. my post You guys still use SQL Server 2000? Really? that discusses application certification) but at least be running the most recent Service Pack or Cumulative Update if you’re able to!

I’m still amazed at the results. I hope you find this information useful.

The detailed results are below.

SQL Server 7.0

All SQL Server 7.0 builds are unsupported.

Data for 1 SQL Server 7.0 instance (0.03% of results):

How Many   Build Number     Release
------------------------------------------------------
1          7.00.841         7.0 SP2

The latest  build available for 7.0 is 7.00.1152, which is 7.0 SP4 + MS08-040, so 100% of 7.0 instances in the survey are out-of-date and are unsupported by Microsoft.

SQL Server 2000

All SQL server 2000 builds are unsupported as of April 9th, 2013 (see MS Support site here).

Data for 164 SQL Server 2000 instances (5.32% of results):

How Many   Build Number     Release
------------------------------------------------------
14         8.00.760         2000 SP3
5          8.00.818         2000 SP3 + MS03-031
16         8.00.2039        2000 SP4
5          8.00.2040        2000 SP4 + KB899761
3          8.00.2050        2000 SP4 + MS08-040
13         8.00.2055        2000 SP4 + MS09-004
15         8.00.2066        2000 SP4 + MS12-060
10         8.00.2187        2000 SP4 CU1
1          8.00.2246        2000 SP4 CU1 + KB935465
37         8.00.2273        2000 SP4 CU1 + MS08-040
27         8.00.2282        2000 SP4 CU1 + MS09-004
5          8.00.2301        2000 SP4 CU1 + MS12-027
13         8.00.2305        2000 SP4 CU1 + MS12-060

MS12-060 addresses a critical security issue, so instances on 8.00.2066 or 8.00.2305 I’ll consider up-to-date. That means that only 28 (17.1%) of the 200o instances in the survey are up-to-date, and all of them are unsupported by Microsoft.

SQL Server 2005

All SQL Server 2005 builds are out of mainstream support and have extended support until April 12th, 2016 (see MS Support site here).

Data for 1285 SQL Server 2005 instances (41.65% of results):

How Many   Build Number     Release
------------------------------------------------------
7          9.00.1399.06     2005 RTM
1          9.00.2040.00     2005 SP1 CTP1
5          9.00.2047.00     2005 SP1
1          9.00.2153.00     2005 SP1 CU1
37         9.00.3042.00     2005 SP2
1          9.00.3050.00     2005 SP2 + KB933508
1          9.00.3054.00     2005 SP2 + KB934458
1          9.00.3073.00     2005 SP2 + MS08-052
7          9.00.3080.00     2005 SP2 + MS09-062
2          9.00.3159.00     2005 SP2 + KB924459
1          9.00.3200.00     2005 SP2 CU4
2          9.00.3233.00     2005 SP2 CU4 + MS08-040
12         9.00.3282.00     2005 SP2 CU9
2          9.00.3310.00     2005 SP2 CU9 + MS09-004
71         9.00.3353.00     2005 SP2 CU15 + MS09-062
192        9.00.4035.00     2005 SP3
102        9.00.4053.00     2005 SP3 + MS09-062
40         9.00.4060.00     2005 SP3 + MS11-049
10         9.00.4211.00     2005 SP3 CU2
120        9.00.4262.00     2005 SP3 CU2 + MS09-062
20         9.00.4266.00     2005 SP3 CU6
106        9.00.4273.00     2005 SP3 CU7
4          9.00.4285.00     2005 SP3 CU8
1          9.00.4305.00     2005 SP3 CU10
116        9.00.4340.00     2005 SP3 CU15 + MS11-049
252        9.00.5000.00     2005 SP4
144        9.00.5069.00     2005 SP4 + MS11-049
10         9.00.5266.00     2005 SP4 CU3
1          9.00.5292.00     2005 SP4 CU3 + MS11-049
16         9.00.5324.00     2005 SP4 CU3 + MS12-070

MS12-070 (Reporting Services) and MS11-049 (XML editing) are not critical updates unless that area of SQL Server is being used, so I consider anyone on 2005 SP4 onward as up-to-date. This means that only 423 (32.9%) of the 2005 instances in the survey are up-to-date and supported, as only SP4 is in Extended Support.

SQL Server 2008

Any SQL Server 2008 build before SP3 is unsupported. Mainstream support ends on July 8th, 2014, with extended support available until July 9th, 2019 (see MS Support site here).

Data for 394 SQL Server 2008 instances (12.77% of results):

How Many   Build Number     Release
------------------------------------------------------
5          10.0.1600.22     2008 RTM
39         10.0.2531.0      2008 SP1
5          10.0.2573.0      2008 SP1 + MS11-049
2          10.0.2723.0      2008 SP1 CU3
2          10.0.2734.0      2008 SP1 CU4
3          10.0.2746.0      2008 SP1 CU5
1          10.0.2757.0      2008 SP1 CU6
2          10.0.2789.0      2008 SP1 CU9
6          10.0.2799.0      2008 SP1 CU10
58         10.0.4000.0      2008 SP2
15         10.0.4064.0      2008 SP2 + MS11-049
2          10.0.4067.0      2008 SP2 + MS12-070
1          10.0.4272.0      2008 SP2 CU2
15         10.0.4311.0      2008 SP2 CU4 + MS11-049
2          10.0.4316.0      2008 SP2 CU5
2          10.0.4333.0      2008 SP2 CU11
2          10.0.4371.0      2008 SP2 CU11 + MS12-070
169        10.0.5500.0      2008 SP3
8          10.0.5512.0      2008 SP3 + MS12-070
1          10.0.5766.0      2008 SP3 CU1
6          10.0.5770.0      2008 SP3 CU3
10         10.0.5788.0      2008 SP3 CU6
22         10.0.5826.0      2008 SP3 CU7 + MS12-070
9          10.0.5828.0      2008 SP3 CU8
1          10.0.5829.0      2008 SP3 CU9
5          10.0.5835.0      2008 SP3 CU10

MS12-070 (Reporting Services) is not a critical update unless that area of SQL Server is being used, so I consider anyone on 2008 SP3 onward as up-to-date. This means that 232 (58.88%) of the 2008 instances in the survey are up-to-date and supported, as only SP3 is supported.

SQL Server 2008 R2

SQL Server 2008 R2 RTM builds are unsupported, and support for SP1 builds ends on October 10th, 2013. Mainstream support of SP2 builds ends on July 8th, 2014, with extended support available until July 9th, 2019 (see MS Support site here).

Data for 1058 SQL Server 2008 R2 instances (34.29% of results):

How Many   Build Number     Release
------------------------------------------------------
167        10.50.1600.1     2008 R2 RTM
21         10.50.1617.0     2008 R2 RTM + MS11-049
3          10.50.1746.0     2008 R2 RTM CU4
1          10.50.1753.0     2008 R2 RTM CU5
1          10.50.1797.0     2008 R2 RTM CU8
2          10.50.2425.0     2008 R2 RTM CU14 + unknown
168        10.50.2500.0     2008 R2 SP1
26         10.50.2550.0     2008 R2 SP1 + MS12-070
37         10.50.2769.0     2008 R2 SP1 CU1
2          10.50.2772.0     2008 R2 SP1 CU2
3          10.50.2796.0     2008 R2 SP1 CU4
14         10.50.2806.0     2008 R2 SP1 CU5
5          10.50.2811.0     2008 R2 SP1 CU6
3          10.50.2817.0     2008 R2 SP1 CU7
5          10.50.2861.0     2008 R2 SP1 CU8 + MS12-070
2          10.50.2868.0     2008 R2 SP1 CU10
518        10.50.4000.0     2008 R2 SP2
3          10.50.4260.0     2008 R2 SP2 CU1
10         10.50.4263.0     2008 R2 SP2 CU2
10         10.50.4266.0     2008 R2 SP2 CU3
19         10.50.4270.0     2008 R2 SP2 CU4
34         10.50.4276.0     2008 R2 SP2 CU5
4          10.50.4279.0     2008 R2 SP2 CU6 (replaced by build 4285)

I consider anyone on 2008 R2 SP2 onward as up-to-date. This means that 598 (56.52%) of the 2008 R2 instances in the survey are up-to-date and supported, with a further 265 (25.05%) already out-of-date instances going unsupported in October.

SQL Server 2012

All builds of SQL Server 2012 are currently supported, but support for RTM builds will end on November 7th, 2013 as that will be one year form the SP1 release (see MS Support site here).

Data for 182 SQL Server 2012 instances (5.90% of results):

How Many   Build Number     Release
------------------------------------------------------
38         11.0.2100.60     2012 RTM
1          11.0.2218.0      2012 RTM + MS12-070
1          11.0.2332.0      2012 RTM CU3
1          11.0.2376.0      2012 RTM CU3 + MS12-070
1          11.0.2383.0      2012 RTM CU4
1          11.0.2395.0      2012 RTM CU5
1          11.0.2405.0      2012 RTM CU7
33         11.0.3000.0      2012 SP1
19         11.0.3128.0      2012 SP1 + KB2793634
6          11.0.3321.0      2012 SP1 CU1
53         11.0.3339.0      2012 SP1 CU2
21         11.0.3349.0      2012 SP1 CU3
2          11.0.3350.0      2012 SP1 CU3 + KB2832017
3          11.0.3368.0      2012 SP1 CU4

I consider anyone on 2012 SP1 onward as up-to-date. This means that 137 (75.27%) of the 2012 instance in the survey are up-to-date, and all instances are supported.

10 thoughts on “More than half of all SQL Server instances are out-of-date and unsupported!

  1. Slightly off topic but it got me thinking…It’s interesting that MS is already talking about SQL 2014. I’m going to venture a guess that many shops have yet to fully embrace SQL 2012. This I think, has something to do with hardware replacement schedules. In our shop, server hardware is replaced every three years at the soonest. Since in-place upgrades of SQL Server is crazy, I assume most shops will put the new SQL version on new hardware. Since they may be budget constrained, they won’t do this any sooner than every three years. So, long story short…many people will be running a major release for at least three years. If I’m right, we should see a shift towards SQL 2012 this year or next. Like I said, a little off topic and it doesn’t address why so many people are out of date on the patches, that’s just crazy.

  2. Well, to be honest it’s likely still a long time away:
    2012 : CTP1 November 2010, RTM March 2012 : 17 months
    2008R2 : CTP June 2009, RTM April 2010 : 10 months
    2008 : CTP May 2007, RTM August 2008 : 15 months

    So with CTP1 for 2014 out June 2013, it seems likely the RTM won’t get released much before April 2014.

    As for the topic at hand. Yes, it’s rather shocking, but at the same time I’m not all that surprised. For many businesses the upgrade process doesn’t seem support driven and outages with no tangible advantages are kept to a minimum. Not saying it’s how it should be, but it’s how I expect reality works in this case.

  3. Taking the operational side, most DBA’s understand the risk associated with running a product that is not supported. The issue is as it always has been, that is that the DB that has Vendor support must run on an approved database platform(including SP and CU). If the Vendor only supports an unspported version of the DB platform then the DBA will raise the risk to Management & Vendor then and sit back to wait for Vendor to do what they should be doing. If the DBA upgrades to platform that is not supported by the vendor and it breaks, then they will probably lose their job. The App reigns supreme.

    1. Totally understood, and the point I make strongly in my post about SQL Server 2000. I suspect that many of the databases in the survey are not that way because of application restrictions, and that jives with what we see on new client systems.

      1. The DBs I have sitting on unsupported version of SQL Server are generally not there because the currently available version of the application doesn’t run on a supported version of SQL Server but because there is no impetus within the organization to upgrade that application. Sometimes it’s because the business owner is wanting to move to a different application but has no pull to make that happen or because the current version of the application “works good enough”. Of course, vendors aren’t always helpful either. Just last April, I got a DB off of SQL 2000 and onto SQL 2008 R2 SP1 but upgrading the app to the current available version but that DB is still in 2005 compatibility mode.

  4. We have yet to look at Win Server 2012 or SQL 2012… no new application or upgrade has yet certified it. I still have 10 dbs on SQL 2000…. the apps folks are so busy they don’t have the man hours to work on testing the upgrade. We have some small dbs on SQL2005 but 95% of our volume is on SQL2008 or 2008R2 latest service pack. We will probalby not even do SQL2012 here since 2014 is just around the corner.

  5. Paul, I really enjoyed reading your article. As a SQL Server DBA, I would really like to have the latest Service Packs installed as well as the CU’s, but this is not possible. We have a two node Active/Active SQl Server 2008 R2 Cluster. We also have nine standalone SQL Server 2008/2008 R2/2012 servers with multiple instances. We are driven by what the Third Party (as well as Microsoft software) supports. This makes patching an instance with multiple databases impossible. I would be curious to know how most DBAs handle this situation? I was shocked when the Microsoft engineers here at the University told me that some Microsoft products did not support anything above SQL Server 2008…. and SQL Server 2014 CTP has been released.

    Charlie

    1. Charlie, we are in the same boat as you here. When we installed Sharepoint a while back I asked about what version of SQL Server was supported and I was told they just started supporting SQL2008R2. We still have one vendor that has not yet fully tested and certified SQL2008R2… they host 20,000 dbs still on SQL2005… yes…. 20,000 dbs on SQL2005. How long do you think it will take them to upgrade them? Last month I heard that they now will not certify SQL2008R2 but began testing on SQL2012… OMG!

  6. You are assuming that each newer version of SQL does not “break” any features and is easy to upgrade to. That is not the case. Then, when you add in version matching with other Microsoft products (e.g. Exchange), you just add to the morass of upgrade complexity. The upside of doing this type of upgrade has to be known up-front as well as the implications for newer O/S version and other factors. Not a lot of companies can afford the time and money to do a complete port of their apps (windows and web apps) over to new O/S, hardware and SQL versions (with ample time for full QC) – especially if it results in complex problems which either require a lot of digging and/or dead ends. Putting someone’s job on the line if there is no payback is not something that I would be willing to do (especially if it is MY job).

    1. Nope, not making that assumption at all. Companies need to do extensive testing before upgrading, and weigh the risks/costs of that against those of continuing to run on old, unsupported versions of SQL Server.

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