More businesses than you think are still using SQL Server 2000

Last week I kicked off a survey asking what is the oldest version of SQL Server you have in production.

Here are the results:


I’m actually quite surprised. While I expected to see a sizable percentage of businesses still with SQL Server 2000 in production, I didn’t expect it to be almost half of all respondents – that’s massive! And 9% of businesses have SQL Servers *older* than SQL Server 2000. Although we’ll do performance troubleshooting on SQL Server 2000 (and it takes more time because of the lack of DMVs), we won’t touch anything older.

Last year I wrote a post You guys still use SQL Server 2000? Really? where I listed some of the reasons why people are stuck on SQL Server 2000 for some systems, with some client examples I knew of. SQL Server 2000 was a really solid release and I think it will be around for some time to come.

Here’s the kicker though, Extended Lifecycle Support ended for SQL Server 2000 on April 9th, 2013 (see here for all the details). And the hardware those SQL Servers are running on have to be out of warranty, or close too it, as well (Edit: unless the instances are virtualized, of course). I’d be getting really twitchy about wanting to upgrade the hardware and SQL Servers for those systems where there’s nothing major holding me back. We’re finding a lot of clients asking for upgrade help from SQL Server 2000 and 2005 due to the licensing gotchas with SQL Server 2012 and the ease of buying over-powered hardware that can’t be used without shelling out even more money for unneeded licenses.

I think that if I re-run this survey in another year, the results will be quite different as businesses realize the risk of running an unsupported version and finally upgrade.

8 thoughts on “More businesses than you think are still using SQL Server 2000

  1. I try to always ask SQL Saturday session attendees if they are still supporting 2000, and I have seen just a very slow downward trend from roughly 50% in late 2011-early 2012 to maybe 25% in the last 6 months or so.

    I think virtualization is increasingly being used to keep those older systems going too, not physical hardware. That is making it a bit more viable I think. I also believe the support issue isn’t that important to most (certainly smaller) SQL Server users. I imagine they feel, probably validly, that “it has worked fine for the last 8 years, so it be fine for another X years”. Now, when something zigs when it should zag and they can’t get things back and functional in a hurry, or the lack of security enhancements allows something unfortunate to occur, they will wish they had taken on the risk/pain to upgrade!

  2. I just wanted to make a comment “the hardware those SQL Servers are running on have to be out of warranty”. Well, the wonderfull thing about virtualization is that once a server is virtualize I can move it anywhere in the farm. I had a new peice of hardware to the farm and migrate the virtuals from one host to and another and the guests are fat dumb and happy about that new experience.

  3. I recall a situation with 2000 from one of my former employers. They had systems that used user-defined error messages quite extensively. And when they were needed to localise them on a language normally absent in syslanguages, they set “allow updates” to 1, took an unused one and updated all necessary fields to make it look like it has always been this way.

    Everything went fine until MSSQL 2005 has arrived. We poke around for a bit and were unable to find any simple way to do the same on it (except raping the mssqlsystemresource DB through and through, but it looked too risky at the moment). So if they still have any installations in that country, they have to stick to 2000 version, because the amount of changes needed to introduce their own message subsystem was considered not worth the result.

  4. yep
    got rid of our last SQL 2000 server a few months ago. we had an application pointed to it where the developer hard coded the IP and left the company a long time ago. everyone was afraid to make a change. we put it on VMWare and upgraded to SQL 2005.

  5. We still have about two dozen or so databases on SQL2000. One group of them comprise one system and that system is being replaced and rolled out right now. Once that is done we have four in a test environment and the rest are small ones that will be upgraded after that. The ones left after that are simply older systems that are not really used for production or apps that the company went out of business. We will keep them alive via VM for quite some time. We probably have 60 dbs still in SQL 2005 and are slowly upgrading them to 2008R2. We have yet to hear of any of our application vendors certifying SQL2012 yet. One vendor we work with that hosts 20,000 dbs is still on 100% on SQL2005.

  6. I’m surprised, they can still buy licenses for 2005? I don’t know anything about licensing availability, it seems to be a black box…

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