SQL Server 2005 support ends next week. Here’s my tribute to it.

Humor, SQL Server

I remember the first time I used SQL Server 2005.

Did you know SQL Server has an expiration date on the bottom of the box? Also, this one is curdled.
Did you know SQL Server has an expiration date on the bottom of the box? Also, this one is curdled.

I was a database administrator working on a new-build data warehouse project in Miami. Both our data warehouse and SQL Server 2005 were looking like they were going to come out at the same time, and I kept hoping I could make the timing work.

SQL Server 2005 looked so seductive. Let’s take just a moment to think back about all the cool new technologies it introduced:

SQL Server Management Studio – for better or worse, this user interface has been with us for over a decade. I still hear some folks pining for the old days of Query Analyzer – not me, man.

Dynamic Management Views – no more obscure DBCC commands. Now you could just query system tables and get all kinds of health information.

SMTP email – which doesn’t sound awesome until you remember that in the SQL Server 2000 days, we usually had to install Outlook on the database server just to send mail.

Database mirroring – well, technically it wasn’t supported at RTM, but you could do it with a trace flag.

VARCHAR(MAX) – goodbye, text and ntext datatypes, and say hello to Max Headroom.

Index improvementstable partitioning looked better on paper than it actually was, but include fields on indexes are a staple of tuning today.

T-SQL crowd pleasers – common table expressions (CTEs), windowing functions, ROW_NUMBER(), cross apply, outer apply, try/catch…

Business intelligence – what an incredible flourish of new stuff. SSIS replaced DTS packages, and SSAS and SSRS were huge. SQL Server Notification Services, uh, not so huge.

Service Broker and CLR – the ability to use the relational database as an app server or an asynchronous messaging queue. Myspace jumped on this. (Or is it off this?)

Looking back, 2005 was an incredible leapfrog past SQL Server 2000. Granted, a lot of that was due to the looooong gestation period – Microsoft will surely never wait 5 years to release a database update again.

But here’s the awesome part: for the last 10+ years, you’ve been able to take your database from the last version up to the new version, as-is. You’ve been able to use the same T-SQL syntax, and just add on a few new tools. You haven’t had to learn a new language (if you don’t want to), or even change any of your tooling.

If you wanted to keep your skills exactly the same from SQL 2005 to SQL 2016, you could. All of the core stuff still works the same.

It’s just faster and more powerful.

Here’s to the foundation laid by SQL Server 2005.

Erik Says:

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9 Comments. Leave new

  • Richie Rump
    April 4, 2016 8:56 am

    iSQLW 4 LYFE!

  • I have a feeling that 2005 will still be going strong until Windows Server 2008 goes out of support in 2020.

  • Wait a minute….does that mean SQL 2000 support has ended already? My company had better get movin’ on that migration!

  • You mean you don’t have a 6.0 or 6.5 box still? 😉

  • Sql Server 2005 is still the best solution for small databases.Im still using and I will continue to do so until end support of windows server 2008 r2.

    • Best? As in, better than 2008 R2, 2012 and/or 2014? I’m not sure you’ll find too many would agree with that regardless of database size.

    • I can’t think of how SQL Server 2005 is better than 2008/2012/2014 for small databases? The only thing I can think of is the per socket licensing, which 2008 also had. I can understand that you might not be able to justify the expense of an upgrade, but 2005 is not the best solution for any database anymore.

  • Lannie Reyes
    April 4, 2016 5:56 pm

    Well said Brent! 2K5 was a game changer. Oh and thank you for making me relive the nightmare that was SQL Mail with mapi (won’t sleep well for weeks now). To Greg’s point solid logging architecture that has not really varied function within the last releases.

    But for me, 2008 R2 had me at free backup compression 😉

  • Yep, I remember those days. And fighting with developers over the usage of schemas – they wanted it all in dbo!
    I was also lucky to be educated by Kimberly and Paul.


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