Keep SQL Server Running Smoothly with SQL Server 2012 End of Life in July 2022

By:   |   Updated: 2022-03-31   |   Comments (2)   |   Related: More > SQL Server 2022


Our organization is relying on applications running on SQL Server 2012. This is tremendous amount risk on numerous levels – end of support approaching, potentially outdated hardware, lost business opportunities, etc. What options do we have to bring our apps to modern versions of SQL Server? What new functionality can our organization take advantage of with SQL Server 2019, the latest version of SQL Server or Azure? Are there any additional migration considerations based on our workload?


For an organization relying on a technology platform approaching 10 years of service, there could be multiple levels of risk including:

  • Limited support for the hardware platform, operating system and business applications
  • SQL Server 2012 end of mainstream support from Microsoft is on July 12, 2022
  • Lost business opportunities by not using new functionality available in current releases
  • Security vulnerabilities with out-of-date patches

As a community, we have benefitted from Microsoft continuously improving the SQL Server platform on-premises and in the Azure cloud. Microsoft has released numerous versions (2014, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2022 expected soon) and expanded Azure’s offerings with PaaS, IaaS, edge computing, business intelligence and more. Microsoft gives customers the flexibility to keep data on-premises, move to Azure or a hybrid model based on organizational needs.

Make the move now to migrate to a modern SQL Server platform to properly position your organization for success.

To learn more visit:

New Microsoft SQL Server Features since 2012

Microsoft has released numerous new features for SQL Server since the 2012 release. Below is a short list of new technical and business capabilities:

  • Performance
    • Query Store for database performance insight
    • Columnstore Indexes to improve analytical data access
    • In Memory OLTP for high performance data access
    • Improved TempDB contention to improve performance
    • Automatic database tuning
  • Security
    • Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) to protect data at rest
    • Always Encrypted with Secure Enclaves
    • Dynamic Data Masking
    • Row Level Security
  • Development
    • Machine Learning with R and Python
    • New T-SQL Syntax and String Functions
    • Power BI for reporting and analytics
    • Graph Database and Spatial data types
    • Big Data Clusters with support for T-SQL and Spark
  • Administration
    • AlwaysOn Availability Groups across operating systems and into the cloud
    • Linux operating system and Container support to run SQL Server

For an exhaustive list of new features, refer to these resources:

Azure Offerings

If your organization moves their SQL Server 2012 instances to the Azure cloud, your organization will also have these opportunities beyond the SQL Server features listed above:

  • Azure SQL Database – Single database
  • Azure SQL Managed Instance – Managed SQL Server Instance Support
  • Database support for SQL Server, MySQL and PostgreSQL in the Azure cloud
  • Virtual Machines for SQL Server and applications like SAP
  • Azure ARC for Edge Computing, Hybrid and Multi-Cloud needs
  • Azure Data Factory for Extract – Transform – Load (ETL)
  • Azure Synapse Analytics for data warehousing and analytics
  • Azure Databricks for BI and SQL analytics, Data Science and Machine Learning

To learn more about Azure, visit Azure Cloud Offerings.

Assess. Improve. Advance.

There are a few options to migrate to the latest SQL Server version or Azure.

First is to run the Microsoft Data Migration Assistant tool to understand compatibility issues for performance and reliability to help understand the implications related to upgrading to SQL Server 2019 on-premises or in Azure.

A second option is to lift and shift your SQL Server 2012 instance to a Microsoft Azure virtual machine where extended support will continue for three years.

As a third option, if you have SQL Server Software Assurance with an Enterprise Agreement you can pay for extended support until you can migrate to a modern SQL Server version.

Use the migration as an opportunity to assess your environment and address long standing problems, operational gaps and beneficial best practices. Items to consider are:

  • General
    • Best Practices – New Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) based on best industry best practices
    • Raise the bar for your entire team – Performance, security, operations, development, datacenter operations, etc.
  • Security
    • Administrative Roles – Windows Administrators, SQL Server System Administrators, DBOs, etc.
    • Permissions – Application accounts, users, etc.
    • Server Access – Linked Servers configuration and API data access
    • Data Protection – Encryption, backups, masking, etc.
    • Development – Secure development practices and testing
  • Development
    • New Coding Practices – Requirements, code reviews, peer reviews, load testing, documentation, DevOps, CI \ CD, etc.
  • Administration
    • Monitoring and Tuning – Get the insight you need into your overall environment to provide users with the experience they deserve
    • High Availability and Disaster Recovery – Simplify and test cost effective options to continue business operations in case of a failure
    • Clean-up – Unused databases, tables, objects, security and more

Build a Migration Plan

With July right around the corner, now is the time to develop a plan to address the SQL Server 2012 End of Life (EOL) deadline:

  • Team – Assemble your team from each area of your organization
  • Plan – Create your plan from the ground up to meet the July deadline
    • On-premises upgrade or move to Azure
    • Lift and shift SQL Server 2012 instance to an Azure virtual machine for three years of extended security updates
    • Pay for extended support if your organization has SQL Server Software Assurance with an Enterprise Agreement
  • Assess your current environment
    • Hardware, Operating System, SQL Server, Applications, Security, Performance, Business Intelligence
    • Training needs for team members
    • Consider external consultants to help fill-in the gaps
  • Budget – Determine budget for your next infrastructure, licensing and more
  • Next Infrastructure – On-premises version of SQL Server or in the Azure cloud
  • Test – Setup test environments for the data migration process, applications, performance \ load testing, integration and more
  • Go Live
  • Validate and Improve – Functionality, performance, new opportunities

Microsoft SQL Server Migration Resources

Check out the following Microsoft resources:

Next Steps
  • With SQL Server 2012 support ending in a matter of months, take time now to understand your options, get your team trained and work through the migration process for a successful outcome.
  • New to the Azure cloud? Check out this 6 part series on Azure.
  • Contact Azure Sales to get your questions answered. Newsflash sponsored by Microsoft.

About the author
MSSQLTips author Jeremy Kadlec Jeremy Kadlec is a Co-Founder, Editor and Author at with more than 300 contributions. He is also the CTO @ Edgewood Solutions and a six-time SQL Server MVP. Jeremy brings 20+ years of SQL Server DBA and Developer experience to the community after earning a bachelorís degree from SSU and masterís from UMBC.

View all my tips

Article Last Updated: 2022-03-31

Comments For This Article

Monday, October 10, 2022 - 4:16:43 PM - JEREMY KADLEC Back To Top (90580)

I would check out this resource from Microsoft -

I believe there are a few options depending on your exact circumstances.

Thank you,
Jeremy Kadlec
Community Co-Founder

Sunday, October 9, 2022 - 4:45:48 PM - areeb unnisa Back To Top (90572)
Hi Jeremy,
Hope doing well. This is an excellent article regarding the EOL sql server 2012.
What is your opinion regarding those organization who are in the phase of upgrading the current sql 2012 and it might take few months.
They want to keep the current version till migration is completed.
What are compensating controlls they can add in the mean time in order to protect the EOL SQL sever 2012