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Why upgrade to SQL Server 2005?

At what point is it highly recommended that one upgrade from SQL Server 2000 to 2005? So many upgrades aren't necessary unless you are using certain technologies. What does 2005 do that 2000 can't?

There is probably no easy or clear answer to this, but I can help you with some factors you'll want to consider.

First of all, there's the issue of cost. SQL Server 2005 may be more expensive than SQL Server 2000 for your organization to deploy, depending on which features you require. For a breakdown of the current cost and features structure (subject to change before release!), you should review this document from Microsoft's website.

Keep in mind that some of the more advanced features, such as partitioning, are not supported unless you purchase the Enterprise Edition. If you're currently deployed on Standard Edition and require these features, you'll have to factor that in.

In addition to cost for the software itself, you should consider cost to your organization. Do your DBAs and developers require training in order to take advantage of the new features? Will migration be seamless, or do you need to install and test the new software before upgrading? And what return on investment will the new features give you?

Of course, you should also consider whether you want to upgrade at all. SQL Server 2000 will continue to be supported by Microsoft as a mainstream product until at least 2007 -- and extended support will last until at least 2012. So if the features of SQL Server 2000 are serving your organization well, you may not need to upgrade in the near future. I certainly wouldn't recommend that anyone upgrade simply for the sake of upgrading. Just because SQL Server 2005 is released does not make SQL Server 2000 an obsolete product.

That said, SQL Server 2005 has a lot of very interesting new features -- and an immediate upgrade will be tempting! Keep your eyes on the Tips section of this site; there will be a tip posted shortly that points out some good resources for getting started with learning your way around the new system.

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