The short story for this quarter: SQL Server 2019 is on fire, dominating the market.
For the long story: ever wonder how fast people are adopting new versions of SQL Server, or what’s “normal” out there for SQL Server adoption rates? Let’s find out in the summer 2023 version of our SQL ConstantCare® population report.
Out of the thousands of monitored SQL Servers, a whopping 44% are SQL Server 2019! That’s the highest percentage we’ve seen for any version in the 3 years that we’ve been doing this analysis.
I’ve excluded 2008, 2008R2, and the various flavors of Azure SQL DB from that chart because the numbers are all much smaller than SQL Server 2012.
SQL Server 2019 is up 6% from the last quarter, and it’s taking market share from every other version but SQL Server 2022. Every other version’s adoption rate is down 1-2% this quarter.
SQL Server 2017 is now the version that time forgot: folks are just skipping past that version, standardizing their new builds on 2019 rather than 2017. There wasn’t anything wrong with 2017, per se, but it just came out too quickly after 2016. These days, if you’re going to do a new build, I can’t think of a good reason to use 2017. I’ve also updated my Which Version to Use post to reflect that.
After a year of availability, SQL Server 2022’s adoption rate is 4%. That’s somewhat behind SQL Server 2019’s 6% adoption rate of late 2020, but look how big 2019 is today. While I’ve repeatedly gone on record saying 2022 is a mess today, I still think it could be fine long term if two things happen:
- If Microsoft gets the Azure-MI-as-DR thing easy enough for small businesses to use, because companies will adore that, and
- If Microsoft doesn’t release the next version of SQL Server before late 2024 at the earliest. If another version comes out quickly, then 2022 will be the next 2017, skipped along the way. I think this is a safe guess because here in late 2023, we still don’t even have an announcement of the next version, let alone feature lists, public test versions, or a release date. Let’s generously say the next version comes out in 2024 – that still gives SQL Server 2022 several years of time to be the “latest safest version” after vNext ships. And…
- If companies don’t decide to migrate to Azure SQL DB, Managed Instances, or rewrite their applications for Postgres or whatever. It’s conceivable – not likely in the short term, but conceivable – that those competing products might get popular quickly enough that SQL Server 2022 might never catch on. (I’m less worried about this for 2022 than I am for its successor.)
Here’s how adoption is trending over time, with most recent data at the right:
SQL Server 2014 goes out of support in July 2024, so if you’re still running 2014 (or prior) in production, it’s time to make those transition plans to get onto a supported version. 2014 is currently at 7% of the market, and 2012 & prior are at 3%. As those versions continue to taper down, it’ll be interesting to see if SQL Server 2019 grows even further. Wouldn’t it be wild if fully half of the servers out there were running 2019?
These fantastic 2019 adoption numbers really influenced my training class plans for 2024. I’m going to do another round of live classes next year, updating all of my classes to focus on 2019’s features that are widely available. It feels like 2019’s the version companies are standardizing on for the next few years, so it makes sense to standardize our skills on tools that will be available on most of our servers, if not all.