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Why upgrade from SQL 2005 to SQL 2008 R2?

I have been tasked to write a document outlining the best reasons to use SQL 2008 R2 instead of SQL 2005 for my brand new BI project. We have a policy of only using two versions at a time and there are still SQL 2000 boxes around here somewhere....

I know the microsoft line on as per this link. http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/why-upgrade.aspx

What I want to know is your opinions of which are the best features and why.

So if you can help me try to convince management to use a product which is actually up to date, I would appreciate it.


Mainstream support for SQL Server 2005 ends on April 12, 2011. See here.

  • Yes, I like this idea. I hadn't realised that. Thanks. – GordyII Dec 20 '10 at 21:36

Why not convince them to get rid of the SQL 2000 Boxes. They are indeed 10 years behind the times and really even more than that since 2000 wasn't quite the "real" database that 2005 is. 2005 was a massive rewrite.

  • Once you've done that there's not hinderence to running 2008. – Stephanie Page Dec 20 '10 at 21:33
  • Would love to, however, that will probably take ANOTHER ten years.... – GordyII Dec 20 '10 at 21:37

This is a rather old link, but you should take a look at it.


For the SQL Server relational engine:

Page compression alone is an extremely appealing reason to upgrade to SQL 2008, more so if the project is a BI project (compression pays up big for large fact table like most BI projects tend to have).

Now for R2, there is no such a strong incentive unless NVARCHAR columns tend to be the dominant type in your database (unlikely). Document stores basically cannot afford not to move to R2 (because of Unicode compression), but most other databases will do just fine.

But for the BI stack (MSAS, MSRS, SSIS) there are more compelling reasons for R2 than for plain 2008. R2 was a release that was mostly BI, and there is one magic feature here: PowerPivot. Go watch the demos, see PowerPivot in action, is quite impressive. And it requires an R2 deployment. If your BI project/team/company has a clear focus on the Information Worker, then PowerPivot is a tool you simply cannot leave out.

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