Microsoft's Partners Now Selling ESUs for SQL Server 2014
ESU sales started, even though SQL Server 2014 is still supported into mid-2024.
Microsoft's partners are now selling Extended Security Updates (ESU) for SQL Server 2014 as of this month, per this announcement.
These ESUs are for organizations having trouble upgrading their SQL Server instances. Microsoft's options include moving to the current SQL Server 2022 flagship product, or the Azure SQL service, before its end-of-support deadlines, although SQL Server 2014 is still a supported product into mid-2024.
The ESUs for SQL Server 2014 can now be purchased from Enterprise Agreement Reseller partners or Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider partners. Sales of ESUs for SQL Server 2014 started as of Oct. 1, 2023.
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 a restricted program, 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, paying 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 presently is still a supported product, even though Microsoft is selling ESUs for it. SQL Server 2014 is scheduled to fall out of support on July 9, 2024, per Microsoft's lifecycle support page.
IT pros might note that the lifecycle support information shown for SQL Server 2014 has been reorganized from its usual format. Microsoft's page now confusingly 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 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 tables with the ESU end-of-support date, it seems.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.