Is SQL Server 2012 still supported?

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is running in the extended support period that will expire on July 12, 2022. The mainstream support for SQL Server 2012 expired on July 11, 2017. We look at the lifecycle of SQL Server 2012 and how you could work in extending the support of SQL Server 2012 beyond July 2022.

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Lifecycle Dates

Microsoft SQL Servers have a two-year support period for each release. The last updated version of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is the SQL Server Service Pack 4. You will see a higher frequency of releases on the SQL server. This fact is amply borne out if you track and analyze the lifecycle date of Microsoft SQL Server 2012.

  • SQL Server 2012 was originally released on May 20, 2012. The original release was supported until Jan 12, 2014.
  • SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) was released on November 7, 2012. SP1 was supported until July 14, 2015.
  • SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 2 (SP2) was released on June 10, 2014. The support for SP2 ended on Jan 10, 2017.
  • SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 3 (SP3) was released on Dec 1, 2015. The support for SP3 expired on Oct 9, 2018.
  • SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 4 (SP4) was released on Oct 5, 2017. The support for the Service Pack 4 will expire on July 12, 2022.

The support for databases running on SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 4 expires on July 2012. If you run a legacy application connected to the SQL Server 2012, you may still want to try and extend support for the SQL Server 2012. We look at the options available for you to extend support for the SQL Service 2012.

The affected SQL Server 2012 editions are:

  • Business Intelligence
  • Developer
  • Enterprise
  • Enterprise Core
  • Express
  • for Embedded Systems
  • Standard
  • Web

Extended Security Updates for Microsoft SQL Server 2012

You can choose to enroll in the Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2012. Extended Security updates will allow you to get access to security updates for SQL Server 2012. You can acquire the Extended Security Updates from Microsoft as part of the volume licensing offerings. Extended Security Updates can be bought for a period between one to three years. You could buy the ESUs for 1 year, or 2 years or 3 years. We look at Extended Security Updates as an extended period for you to port your applications to newer SQL versions. Beyond the 3-year Extended Security Updates, there is no option available to support SQL Server 2012.

Extended Security Updates are special security updates that are created to mitigate the ‘Critical’ severity risks for the SQL Server 2012. These updates are unavailable through the normal channels of Microsoft Updates. You will need to get these updates manually and deploy them manually. We look at the licensing terms for the Extended Security Updates.

  • The first-year Extended Security Update for SQL Server will initiate coverage on July 13, 2022. The support for the first Extended Security Update will expire on July 11, 2023. The first year’s Extended Security Update for SQL Server 2012 will cost 75% license cost.
  • The second-year Extended Security Update for SQL server will begin on July 12, 2023. The second Extended Security Update for SQL Server 2012 will be supported until July 9, 2024. The second Extended Security Update for SQL Server 2012 will cost 100% license cost.
  • The third-year Extended Security Update for SQL Server 2012 will begin on July 10, 2024. The third Extended Security Update for SQL Server 2012 will be supported until July 8, 2025. The third Extended Security Update for SQL Server 2012 will cost 125% license cost.

Extended Security Updates will help you plan for migrating your database engine from SQL Server 2012 to a newer and well-supported SQL Server 2012.

For the on-premise deployments of SQL Server 2012, you can purchase ESU licenses under Enterprise Agreement (EA), Enterprise Subscription Agreement (EAS), a Server & Cloud Enrollment (SCE), or an Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES). 

Extended Security Updates are different from the technical support offered for SQL Server 2012. To receive technical support from Microsoft, you will need a valid Software Assurance or Unified Support plan that is available for separate purchase.

How do I get Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2012?

Extended Security Updates are available for manual download. You can deploy them manually or using the Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager. To get the Extended Security Updates for on-premise SQL Server 2012 deployments, you will need to follow the process below:

  • Buy the ESU license for SQL Server 2012.
  • The ESU invoice will need to be tied with the SQL Server instance that needs to get the Extended Security Updates.
  • If and when the Extended Security Updates are available for the SQL Server 2012, you will get a download link to the ESU.
  • You can download the Extended Security Update for SQL Server 2012. The ESU can be deployed manually. Or you can choose to deploy the update using the Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager.

Apart from getting the Extended Security Updates, you can also move your on-premise or hosted SQL Server 2012 deployment to Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform. If you were to migrate to Azure based SQL Server deployment, the Extended Security Updates are available for download through the Azure portal.

It may be pertinent to mention that the Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2012 are released when SQL Server 2012 is prone to a Critical vulnerability. Extended Security Updates ensure that the SQL Server 2012 is patched against threats that are disclosed from time to time. Therefore, Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2012 are available on a need basis rather than a well-defined schedule.

Summary

SQL Server 2012 is under an extended support plan that expires in July 2022. You do have options to enroll in Extended Security Updates for a period of up to 3 years. ESUs help you in patching the SQL Server 2012 against critical severity vulnerabilities on the database server.

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