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A dilemma probably faced by quite a few DBAs. Does one upgrade to the latest version, in this case SQL SERVER 2016, or play it safe and upgrade to 2014, which hopefully has most bug fixes in place by now?

I will only be upgrading in Standard Edition and from what I've read there isn't much between 14 & 16 in terms of functionality, enterprise is a different story. The only things of interest to me at the moment in 2016 are probably the query store features and possibly the tabular BI stuff.

I have read 2016 does use fewer resources and depending on the tasks it executes faster, which is obviously a big bonus.

At the moment I am leaning towards 2016 as opportunities to upgrade are few and far between, just worried about potential bugs and applying them in 24/7 up time environment with no maintenance window.

Would be great to hear if anyone else has faced the same/similar upgrade path, and ultimately what decision they took.

I will probably get a down vote as there is no right answer...but its a question that must be asked a lot..

closed as primarily opinion-based by wBob, Shanky, dezso, mustaccio, Tom V Aug 10 '16 at 14:14

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Hi there, the reason this could be closed is because, as you say there is no right answer. There might be a correct answer if you included a lot more information about the applications consuming it, your testing practices, what you see yourself as benefits/advantages of one over the others etc. Then again that might be overly broad. – Tom V Aug 10 '16 at 14:14
  • Understood, just good to get some opinions as they can lead to answers which I have now got:) – davey Aug 10 '16 at 14:26
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Definitely 2016 unless your vendor refuses to support it.

You're going to hit bugs no matter which version you choose; Microsoft has them coming out of their ears and it's just a matter of which ones you can put up with and how good the support cases in your contract are.

Feature wise 2016 beats it hands down. R, SSRS improvements, MDS improvements (even though the UI is broken in 2016 and CU1; you can use the Excel plugin). You'd be crazy to not take advantage if there's even a slim chance one of these might be useful in any aspect of the business.

Performance wise it's pretty much a must for busy AGs.

Being on the tail end of 2014 updates isn't a good thing, it means whatever issues you face are DEFINITELY not going to be fixed. That's the wrong kind of certainty.

But I will say 24/7 SQL and no maintenance window is not possible if you're doing application upgrades and patching your servers. That's version agnostic.

There's always two maintenance windows. The one you planned for, or the unplanned one that gets forced on you when the servers go down because you refused to plan for one 😄

  • thanks for all the info much appreciated . We don't have a vendor, all of our software is in house. With regards to 24/7 up time :) we currently mirror and failover when a patch or server update is required. I will probably stick with mirroring although deprecated as I can't see a reason to use the HA group feature in std edition. It adds another level of complexity with the implementation of clustering. If you could read off the 2nd server in the HA group then I would definitely look at it. It wont be upgrade on the current 2008 servers, i have some new tin to play with :) – davey Aug 10 '16 at 14:05
  • so will be backup restore, mirror from 08 to 16 then failover – davey Aug 10 '16 at 14:05
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You're asking for opinions, so here's mine...

Upgrading Sql Server is a labor intensive process with tons of planning and testing. I like to minimize the number of times I have to do that. If I were in your shoes, I would definitely opt for 2016 and test, test, test in non-production environments.

  • Thanks Scott, i have similar thoughts..We're currently on 2008 which is so far behind the current version which is evidence of scheduling in an upgrade of this scale just keeps getting put off. So taking the opportunity to go to the latest version is probably the way to go. My only hesitation is the reality there are probably more SPs and bug fixes to apply on 2016. – davey Aug 10 '16 at 10:22
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    I think the biggest challenge you're going to face will be the new Cardinality Estimator, but you'd have to climb that hill in 2014 anyway – Scott Hodgin Aug 10 '16 at 10:41
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    @davey The new CE which was introduced in SQL Server 2014 can be a challenge if you are migration from SQL Server 2008 r2 and before. But SQL Server 2016 has done lot of things to minimize this regression. If you test and find this OK and acceptable there is no doubt about using SQL Server 2016. – Shanky Aug 10 '16 at 11:07
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Another point for 2016 - Cumulative Update 1 was released on 25-07-2016

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3164674

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