A shockingly high number of active SQL servers are no longer supported

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Lansweeper has issued a stark warning to enterprise administrators regarding the looming issue of outdated Microsoft SQL Server instances.

Company Chief Strategy Officer Roel Decneut revealed (via The Register) 19.8% of SQL Server instances were unsupported by Microsoft following a scan of more than one million instances.

Furthermore, 12% were running SQL Server 2014, which is set to lose support on July 9, bringing the number of unsupported SQL Servers much closer to one-third (31.8%).

Unsupported SQL Server instances

Despite the approaching end of life, SQL Server 2014 customers will be able to pay for a further three years of extended security updates, however users will soon find themselves in a position of running outdated software that poses security risks to their companies.

More broadly, the problem is mirrored across the Microsoft ecosystem. More than two-thirds (68%) are still using Windows 10, which reaches end of support in October 2025. The company’s latest operating system, Windows 11, which includes deeper generative AI integration, only accounts for around a quarter (28%) of all Windows downloads (according to Statcounter).

Decneut, who spent 18 years at Microsoft and was part of the SQL Server 2008 and 2012 launches, commented on the persistent problem of transitioning users off old versions: “It was a problem back then, getting people off old versions.”

He blamed the “stickiness” of applications for businesses’ reluctance to upgrade their systems as well as inconsistent backward compatibility.

Still, a promising number of SQL Server users are running the more up-to-date 2019 version, with 23.5% collectively spread across the 2017 and 2016 versions.

Decneut puts part of the responsibility on Microsoft, citing a lack of compelling reasons for businesses to upgrade, adding: “It's only when the house is on fire – when there's massive vulnerability – that somebody will go care about that.”

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!