This is the first post in a series on Upgrading to SQL Server 2012. Tips, tricks, hazards, pitfalls, and real world experiences.
As with any piece of software, we need to weigh the business benefits against the time, effort and cost associated with an upgrade. I believe the most compelling reason to upgrade is the Always On availability groups. This is going to be a major paradigm shift for many businesses approach to high availability in the SQL Server space. Why? The traditional approach to high availability has been clustering, coupled with either log shipping or replication. Starting in SQL Server 2005 (a similarly disruptive release of SQL Server as my friend Andy Leonard mentions here) we had Database Mirroring – a great piece of technology that we have been using since it was turned on in SP1.
DB Mirroring is great but it has it’s flaws. Most notably, you cannot query a mirrored database. Yes, you can create snapshots but that approach is clunky and not real time. So you can’t use a mirrored database for reporting easily. Now that we have Always On and read only availability groups, a true way to mix High Availability and read only reporting is really a possibility.
Take some time and rethink your HA/DR and reporting strategy with Always On in SQL Server 2012.