The Risks of Staying on an Unsupported Data Platform

In July 2019, extended support for SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2 will end. At roughly the same time, users will need to start paying for extended support for Oracle database 12.1. This means companies using these technologies have only a few more months to study their options and decide whether they will stay on their current database version, upgrade to a new one or migrate to a completely different platform.

Software companies typically follow a product lifecycle where the first several years are covered by mainstream support followed by a short period of extended support, after which the vendor focuses resources on new product releases. After extended support ends, staying on that aging technology begins to present risks, including:

1. Security

Security updates or patches from the vendor typically stop after extended support. In today’s world where cybersecurity and data privacy are big items on the corporate agenda, any security breaches may lead to disruptions in operations, cause serious damage to corporate reputation and result in huge fees and revenue loss.

2. Cost of maintenance and support

Companies may need to take on specialized skillsets for maintenance or sustaining support services which may be difficult to source and can get expensive.

3. Higher Costs of Downtime

Downtime immediately translates to revenue loss, a drop in productivity, and customer dissatisfaction. When older, inflexible databases go down, the costs for recovery and then sustaining high availability can be quite high as opposed to cloud-based platforms with guaranteed uptime and SLAs.

4. Limited ability to take advantage of new features or innovations

Not only will most new third-party applications be unable to run on older data platforms, but your company may miss out on other innovations introduced by technology providers. Modern cloud-based data platforms, for example, allow unlimited scale, pay-as-you-go pricing models, and advanced analytics capabilities that can benefit the business.

Of course, an upgrade or migration will present its own set of risks, so it’s important to have a good plan in place and the appropriate tools, skills and processes for migration. It would be good to note too that the top database providers also offer cloud versions of their software. Since cloud applications are always updated, moving to cloud removes the risk of dealing with end-of-support challenges.

For help in assessing the best move for your company in terms of data platform modernization, consider partnering with services providers who possess the right experience and proven methodologies for data platform assessment and migration. Contact NTT DATA today to assess your data platform.

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