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Microsoft Begins ESU Sales for SQL Server 2014

SQL Server 2014 is still a supported product into mid-2024, but Microsoft has opened partner sales of Extended Security Updates (ESU) for it this month, per this announcement.

ESUs for SQL Server 2014 can now be purchased from Enterprise Agreement Reseller partners or Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider partners. The sales began as of Oct. 1, 2023.

ESUs are for organizations having trouble upgrading their SQL Server instances before the product end-of-support deadlines, when Microsoft stops delivering patches. Microsoft's main options include moving to the current SQL Server 2022 flagship product, or the Azure SQL service. ESUs are kind of a last resort third option.

ESUs Add 3 Years Max of Support
ESUs deliver "Critical" security patches only. Organizations must buy them on an annual basis, for a maximum of three years of support. It's the same price each year (Microsoft used to increase the price in succeeding years).

The ESU program has restrictions, as customers can't just pay for Year 3 ESU support without also purchasing ESUs for Year 1 and Year 2. It also has licensing restrictions, requiring an Enterprise Agreement with Software Assurance. ESUs are priced based on the full cost of the product each year, for up to three years maximum.

Microsoft will throw in "free" ESU support for three years maximum, though, if organizations are willing to host their workloads on Azure virtual machines and pay for Azure operations costs. Microsoft recently added an Azure Arc management option for ESU buyers, which lets organizations stop paying monthly ESU fees when they are ready to migrate their workloads. The Azure Arc for ESU option is available for Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2012.

Microsoft's announcement, though, stopped short from stating that the Azure Arc for ESU option would be available for SQL Server 2014.

SQL Server 2014 Support Ends on July 9, 2024
SQL Server 2014 is scheduled to fall out of support on July 9, 2024, per Microsoft's lifecycle support page.

However, Microsoft's lifecycle support page confusingly also shows SQL Server 2014's "Extended End Date" as July 12, 2027, but that's just the end date if organizations purchase ESUs, which is an extra cost for continuing to use the product beyond its formal end date.

Microsoft typically has had a five-year "Mainstream" support phase, followed by a five-year "Extended" support phase for its enterprise products. But the word, "Extended," now is getting confounded in Microsoft's lifecycle support descriptions with the ESU end-of-support date, it seems.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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