Editor's Note: We have a Tool for That

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario for upgrading to SQL Server 2008 R2.  Fortunately, your options expand, along with the product’s capabilities.

By Mitch Irsfeld

Upgrading to SQL Server 2008 R2? You’re not alone, yet to a great extent you are. Every IT Pro knows there are many scenarios SQL Server fits, but every installation has its unique requirements, and migrating your existing SQL Server installations could save time and effort.

We’ve collected a set of articles and resources to help you evaluate a move to SQL Server 2008 R2, plan and execute your migration of existing services, and manage the database engine. But lest we get ahead of ourselves, you could still be deciding whether an upgrade to SQL Server 2008 R2 is the right move for your organization. So we’ve also put together a set of articles and resources to help understand the capabilities of SQL Server 2008 R2, including a free eBook from Microsoft Press.

For a limited time, you can download the 10-chapter eBook Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, by Ross Mistry and Stacia Misner. And be sure to read eWeek’s review of SQL Server 2008 R2 to learn about the enhancements and new management capabilities.

There are many potential scenarios you may encounter during an upgrade where you’ll want to migrate a SQL Server installation, especially if you encounter a [what kind of  blocker?] blocker. The TechNet Library article Migrating to SQL Server 2008 R2 describes the migration process and provides how-to information on migrating specific services.

During the process you’ll need to find all instances of the existing database, and finding older, sometimes even unsupported, instances of SQL Server can be a very manual effort. But the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP ) Toolkitprovides a new collection mechanism that quickly locates all instances of SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005, and SQL Server 2008 in your software inventory, their SKUs and version information.

For your deployment needs, there are several options and tools to accomplish the tasks. We’ve included the following articles for specific how-to guidance:

On the management side, we included a very useful tutorial on using SQL Server Management Studio, which brings graphical tools for database management together with a rich development environment. SQL Server 2008 R2 introduces new management tools to help you proactively manage database environments efficiently at scale through centralized visibility into resource utilization. Download the TechNet Library article “SQL Server 2008 R2 - Application and Multi-Server Management,” which describes the new extensions that help improve IT efficiency and productivity.

Workloads in the Cloud

And finally, upgrading your core data platform has to be done with a look ahead at your evolving IT infrastructure, and for most organizations today, that means exploring the benefits of cloud computing. The SQL Azure platform will shortly enable you to easily maintain your familiar SQL Server infrastructure while integrating the shared, hosted data services to begin understanding the cost and efficiency benefits of this new model.

With SQL Azure you don’t have to choose between an in-house server installation and the hosted service. You can spread workloads across both platforms and run them where they are most cost effective. The new TechNet Magazine article by Josh Hoffman, “An IT Pro’s Introduction to SQL Azure” [[url tk]], describes the scenarios where SQL Azure is a particularly good fit, how to set up an account to access the Azure services, and how to integrate with SQL Server.

When your set to give it a try, check out the SQL Azure Migration Wizard v3.3.9, which walks you through the selection of your SQL objects, creates SQL scripts suitable for SQL Azure, and allows you to migrate your data (this tool is on CodePlex and is unsupported by Microsoft). And Microsoft Support provides an article, “Database Migration to SQL Azure,” which discusses a scenario for migrating an on-premise solution to SQL Azure.

Mitch Irsfeld

Mitch Irsfeld*, Editor of TechNet, is a veteran computer industry journalist and content developer who managed editorial staffs at several leading publications, including* InformationWeek, InternetWeek and CommunicationsWeek*. He is also an editor for* TechNet Magazineand managing editor of the TechNet Flash newsletter.