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SQL Server 2008 Essential Training Versus SQL Server 2012 Training: To Implement or Not to Implement

Employers and IT professionals seeking to increase SQL Server 2008 Essential Training for themselves or for their employees have a fundamental question to ask: Shall we endeavor to train on SQL Server 2008 R2 or move forward to training on the newer SQL Server 2012? Obviously, for each individual and for each employer, this answer will be based upon several determining factors, such as the client base that the business or individual currently serves, the budget of the business or individual, and the applicable functionality of the 2008 version versus the 2012.

As most businesses and IT professionals already know, SQL Server 2008 R2 is the current standard. Some businesses are in the position of still running the 2005 version and are currently in attempts to upgrade to 2008, let alone to 2012. That being said, what are some of the advantages of SQL 2012?

According to the MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network), in reference to the SQL Server 2012 SP1, the first advantage is that it “introduces support for cross-cluster migration of AlwaysOn Availability Groups deployments to a new Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) cluster.” The advantage of cross-cluster migration is that it “enables you to maintain your service level agreements (SLAs) when upgrading to a Windows Server 2012 cluster.” Second, SQL Server 2012 introduces a novel type of index called a Selective XML index, which “can improve querying performance over data stored as XML in SQL Server, allow for much faster indexing of large XML data workloads, and improve scalability by reducing storage costs of the index itself.” Third, a new dynamic management function “returns properties of statistics for the specified database object (table or indexed view) in the current SQL Server database.” This function allows you to “return information such as the last time the statistics object was updated for the table or indexed view, or the number of rows that were sampled for statistical calculations.” (MSDN, 2013)

Forth (wait, there’s more?), users of SQL server 2012 will “now have SQL Server Management Studio complete in Express.” This applies to you if you’re currently using: SQL Server Express With Tools, SQL Server Express COMP, SQL Server Express with Advanced Services, or SQL Server Management Studio Express. Fifth is SlipStream full installation, meaning that customers are provided “with a pre-built ‘Slipstream image’ that consists of a compressed, self-extracting .exe and a ‘.box’ payload file that contains a SQL Server 2012 RTM image (Setup.exe, MSI’s, etc.) along with the most recent Service Pack. When the package is executed, the two images are merged in real-time providing the user with a single Setup workflow experience….” The benefit of this is that “Customers can perform new instance installations (or SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 upgrades) at the Service Pack functional level using a single click install workflow experience.” Sixth, and most important from a BI (Business Intelligence) perspective, are the plethora of BI highlights, including enabling, in several ways, “self-service BI as a natural part of users’ day-to-day activities in Excel 2013.” In addition, SQL 2012 includes “A new version of the Reporting Services add-in for SharePoint and an updated SharePoint mode report server that supports SharePoint 2013.” Also new is “architecture for SQL Server 2012 SP1 PowerPivot that supports a PowerPivot server outside a SharePoint 2013 farm,” plus the ability to “Share and collaborate on self-service BI assets via SharePoint Server 2013 Preview and SQL Server 2012 SP1.” (MSDN, 2013)

Excited yet? For the majority of DBAs, businesses, and individual IT experts, the answer is, well, no. And while those that have made the upgrade to SQL Server 2012 have found the switch to be relatively painless, and are happy with the results of applying some of the new features, those happy campers are few and far between. So why are most businesses sticking with SQL Server 2008 R2? According to Microsoft SQL Server MVP Brad McGehee’s blog (plus responses to his same question on the SQL ServerCentral.com forum), the standard reasons apply: a lack of time, lack of resources, and a lack of funds. Moreover, many businesses are still making the switch to 2008 or would prefer to wait till the 2012 version has been around for a while before upgrading. In other words, if it’s not broken for your business, why fix it? Several blog and forum responders revealed that oftentimes there are outside factors that influence such upgrades, such as how corporate standards, outside vendors, and the applications being currently used are all driving factors for upgrading or not. Many businesses are either in the dark as to if the 2012 features are even relevant to their business, or are already under the impression that there’s nothing in the 2012 version they need. Many businesses are still making the switch from 2005, and their clients are still supported by 2005 or 2008 versions, meaning that, as one responder called “TC” noted, “our applications have to support the lowest common version our customers use.” (McGehee, Brad, 2012)

The most common response was that basically, it’s going be a while. The need for a new server, a drive from inside and outside business forces (such as vendors and corporate policies), and a true need for the relevant, new features of the 2012 version are all reasons for upgrading that for many businesses, simply haven’t occurred just yet.

Either way, whether you seek to train yourself or your employees about SQL Server 2008 R2 or SQL Server 2012, certainly the most optimal training course plan would be to pull up an executive chair in the tech-savvy classrooms of Certification Camps’ Florida institutions, which will bring you up to expert level with a 96% chance of a passing grade on your Microsoft Certification exams in a matter of seven to nine days. If you add to that the all-inclusive packages that Certification Camps offers, including second-to-none facilities, low student-to-teacher ratios, Microsoft courseware that’s specific to the exams, and a hands-on environment full of step-by-step examples, demonstrations, and real-world scenarios, then making the comparison to other institution’s course offerings is a no-brainer. So is the executive chair.

 

References:

MSDN. (2013.) What’s New in SQL Server 2012. The Microsoft Developer Network. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb500435.aspx.

 

McGehee, Brad. (May 1, 2012.) When Will You Upgrade to SQL Server 2012? SQL Server and Database Administration Blog. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://www.bradmcgehee.com/2012/05/when-will-you-upgrade-to-sql-server-2012/.

 

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