SQL Server Code Name “Denali” – Supported OSes and Upgrade Paths

We are looking for feedback on three items for SQL Server Code Name “Denali”. First, are the supported OSes. Second, are the supported upgrade paths. Third, is the way the installer handles unsupported OSes and upgrade paths. Specifically we want to know if these will slow down your adoption of SQL Server Code Name “Denali”.

1) The current support matrix for OSes is as follows:

  • Windows Vista SP2 or later
  • Windows Server 2008 SP2 or later
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 or later
  • Windows 7 SP1 or later

2) Denali will support upgrading from these SQL Server versions:

  • SQL Server 2005 SP4 or later
  • SQL Server 2008 SP2 or later
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 or later

3) The installer is going to block installation on unsupported OSes and it will block unsupported upgrade paths.

If the current support matrix for OSes, the current support matrix for upgrade, or the installation blocks will delay your adoption of of SQL Server called “Denali”, please provide this feedback to us! You can provide us this feedback by adding a comment below or submitting the feedback through the SQL Server Connect.

Comments (45)
  1. Argenis Fernandez says:

    Sadly, I still see a lot of instances out there running SQL 2000. Yes – I know it's unsupported at this point, but the number of server running it out there is huge.

    I'm not advocating an upgrade path from 2000 though.

  2. sqlguychuck says:

    I think those requirements are reasonable. I would rather SQL team spend more time on other things that supporting old operating systems and upgrading really old (un)patched SQL installs. I have had about 50% success rate with in-place upgrades, so I gave up on them and do backup/restore or logshipping to new servers running latest OS and SQL edition.

  3. Aaron Bertrand says:

    For the operating systems, I don't have a problem with it at all.

    For the SQL Server versions, I don't think it will be wise to block an upgrade from SQL 2005 SP3 or 2008 SP1 or 2008 R2 RTM. These are the versions (I'll refer to them below as "currentish versions") that a lot of people are still running, as a service pack upgrade in a lot of cases requires as much planning and lead time as a major version upgrade.

    Are there technical reasons that make "currentish versions"-1 harder to upgrade? Or is just that you only want to /*support*/ the upgrade from "currentish versions"?

  4. Allan Hirt says:

    For my full take, see sqlha.com/…/sql-server-denali-upgrading-supported-platforms-and-you. I think the OS list is potentially problematic depending on certain feature usage of Denali based on what we know right now.

  5. Jorge Segarra says:

    Looks good and please, for the love of all that is good and right, don't add XP support. Companies need to have substantial reasons to rip that XP band-aid off. Anything to help put the legacy stuff to rest, the better IMO

  6. Scott Lezberg says:

    Agree with all of this

  7. Dayton Brown says:

    My god.  No XP Support!  (Sarcasm there)  I'm sure there are some edge cases out there for Server 2K3 but I don't think it's anything worth worrying about.

  8. Jeremiah Peschka says:

    I'd be overjoyed if there was no 64-bit support, no XP support.

  9. Sergey Olontsev says:

    Sadly, that Windows XP is not supported. I know many developers use SQL Server Express + SSMS on their Windows XP corporate workstations. And they do not plan to move to Windows 7 soon. I do understand, that life is going on, but still … I wish it would support XP.

  10. Nicholas Cain says:

    I think that limiting the upgrade options are fine. My big concern is the lack of support for XP and how this may impact the uptake of Denali. Desktops are usually the first places to get new versions just because people can deploy them locally and play around with them, building a business case to get a server level install.

    I recently left a company with > 10k desktops, all of which were running XP and there was no plan in sight to move to Windows 7. This is not an uncommon scenario. I would hate to see slow movement on Denali because of this (although at this point I can't see how there could be any option to run on XP).

  11. It sounds great. But, Microsoft is famous for backward compatibility. If they have these restriction in the upcoming SQL Server version that leads to delay in using SQL Server code name Denali for some organization.

    I would ask Microsoft to give some alternative to support the upgrade from all available older version to Denali.

    Operating system, I can see may companies still using Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. So, I many expect SQL Server Denali to support some basic features in these operating system.

  12. Artem Ervits says:

    MSFT needs to cut that umbilical cord and I think the listed upgrade paths are reasonable. Vendors are quite liberal with their upgrades and if DBAs have MSFT behind them to enforce those upgrade requirements maybe we won't have that many SQL 2000s lingering about. I must agree that SQL upgrade path is a bit strict but I personally can live with that. We're currently maintaining four versions of SQL and because of SQL 2000 we need to have our maintenance jobs adhere to less than best practice procedures.

  13. George Leventelis says:

    My company still using windows xp and their is no plan to change that.Win xp is the best operating system ms have.

  14. Scott Gleason says:

    I am not in favor of support for XP or Server 2003.  Its time IT shops moved on.

  15. Subhash Pant says:

    Definitely should support XP. Windows XP is a great small footprint OS (can be made into) and it definitely makes testing easier on Virtual Machines.

  16. Santosh Chandavaram says:

    Support for Windows XP is really important for future versions of SQL Server because of the fact that there are many many many native applications (to quote shipping apps from Fedex or UPS) that make good use of SQL Server Express that hosts a small to medium replicated databases combined with .NET/non-.NET applications to accomplish order fulfilments/other critical business processes. On the other hand I believe OS support matrix should look same for .NET framework (the minimum version which is utilized by SQL Server "Denali") and the SQL Server version itself.

  17. Jerry Hung says:

    +1 for no-XP OS support. It's time to move on…(typing on a XP Core i7 laptop here). Although I dislike the SP1/SP2 requirement on Win7/2008/2008R2

    -1 for SQL Upgrade though. I second others in that we should allow upgrade from

    SQL 2005 SP2+, and ANY SQL 2008/2008R2 version

  18. Trey Staker says:

    Does the "current support matrix for OSes" mean no support for the install of the tools like ssms and bids aswell for OS's like xp?  If so then my company would definately have a problem with it.  We have started the migration toward win7 but it will be years before it is complete.

  19. Mirza says:

    I use XP. I vote for having Denali work on XP.

  20. Aaron Bertrand says:

    I posted my comments here. In short: good riddance to XP. You are really in a situation where you have 10,000 XP desktops that you won't budge on, *and* you are moving to Denali immediately? Of those, how many need to run SQL Server or Management Studio, honestly (and can't upgrade to Windows 7 individually)? And of those, how many aren't allowed (or can't figure out how) to install a virtual machine? If any, can't they use RDP / PowerShell in the meantime to manage all of those Denali instances you're going to have in production on the day it is released? Lots of workarounds to beat the excuse of clinging to a 10-year old operating system.

    For Santosh who talks about shipped applications from ISVs. Why on earth would you need to upgrade such an app from its current Express version to Denali?

  21. Constantin Klein says:

    I agree almost 100% with Aaron.

    I would love to see upgrade paths from especially all SQL 2008 and 2008 R2 SP levels though.

    So much harder to do??

  22. Chris Wood says:


    If you have to restrict at a service pack level for SQL 2005 then SP3 is still under support (Tomorrows patch mentions SP3) as is SQL2008 SP1 and SQL2008R2 SP1 doesn't exist yet. Restricting the upgrades to service pack levels could mean a double upgrade effort is needed if the upgrade is in place.


  23. Steve Jones says:

    Good list and I support it. No reason to go backwards anymore. Those companies that still run XP on every desktop and mandate it, or have SQL2K, aren't going to run to Denali. If they think they need it, they'll make exceptions for the people that need it.

    Any IT professional that wants to work on Denali, but has XP at work. Either invest in a machine that you can run it on at home or learn to set up a VM, but there is no reason for MS to invest time or testing efforts into supporting XP at this point.

  24. S.E. says:

    I think the Express Editions should support WinXP. For all other versions I'm fine with the list above.

  25. Doug Osborne says:

    No XP support. No 2k support.

  26. Richard says:

    I have no concerns with the SQL Server version upgrade paths that are suggested, although a number of the systems I'm responsible for are still on 2000!! 🙁

    However, a large number of our servers are Windows Server 2003 R2 and there are no plans at all to upgrade/change these to Server 2008 so from a personal perspective, the proposed support matric for OSes would cause me a problem.


  27. Don Goodman says:

    – Dan

    I recommend adding Windows 2003 SP2 for the simple reason that most of the shops (in my finite experience) out there have not made the jump to 2008 svr. Second, in an economic downturn this deep companies are very likely NOT to make the jump soon. This will crimp your sales of SQL Server.

    Second, it is silly to create a cranky upgrade path. Why would the upgrade process whine about 2008 sp1 or 2008R2 RTM? Embrace upgrading 2008 RTM and 2008R2 RTM.

  28. Its time to move on.

    Spend more time fine-tuning Denali for Vista+, but if its a business decision, then make it a good one but include the costs for supporting XP.

    I work in an organization with 10.000+ PCs (and XP's) and while I won't be able to use Denali anytime soon, I am advocating for the innovation and progress.

    As for the Server 2003 – this one should be definitely supported, way too many solutions won't be migrated for years from this OS.

  29. sounds great.. but is SSAS 2000 still going to run on Windows 8? says:

    this sounds great.. but the thing that REALLY matters to me is that cube-development in SQL 2005 and newer is like ridiculously complex, and I prefer the cube builder in SQL 2000… Am I still going to be able to build cubes on SQL 2000 (and then migrate them to 2005-2012 for production)??

    When you guys kill SQL 2000 Analysis Services support is when I _CRY_.

  30. Michael Kramer says:

    Stick to 64-bit+ on servers but allow 32-bit including XP and upwards as clients.

    We sell 95+ % to government in several European and Asia-Pacific countries. Requiring VISTA+ on clients prohibits pretty much every single customer from upgrading to Denali.

    Blocking unsupported OS or upgrade path is fine. That's how we do already.

  31. Joseph Jandal says:

    I would like to see support for Windows 2003.  We have a ton of those running SQL 2005 and even some SQL 2008.

  32. Stefan Böther says:

    I would  love to see the MS-SQL Server run on Unix,Linux. In the finance segment most of our Oracle Server run's on Unix for a long time. The DBA's don't like to switch to Windows Server for running the SQL Database 😉  

  33. I'm confused says:

    I can see if a company still has XP and Windows 2003 for 2005 or even hosting 2008. Why would you expect Denali to run on old hardware? Seriously if your going to use Denali why not just use a newer OS. That doesn't mean a connection from an old server to a new server won't connect. It's just that Denali won't install on older OSes. Maybe I'm missing something.

  34. Stuart B says:

    64-bit only -> Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 and above.

    Its time to not support the products and give them a reason to upgrade (more money to you and easier lives for developers such as my self).

  35. Sergey Olontsev says:

    I think at least workstation tools and SQL Express should support Windows XP, because there are still a large amount of such OS'es in corporate segment. Vista was awful and only small amount of companies moved. A lot of still using XP. You know how hard sometimes is to migrate all software (especially third party) to Windows 7. MED-V is good variant, but we should upgrade at least RAM for it. I know it is time to move, but it would be impossible to explain BOSS that if we want SQL Denali we should move to Windows 7 too.

  36. Carla Santos says:

    A lot of my customers are still running SQL 2000 on Windows 2003, so I believe we should add this to the supportability.

  37. DrPizza says:

    Make it 64-bit only too. Exchange already is.

  38. Nick says:

    I'm going to disagree with the crowd, I think support for XP should be put in place. I'm on Windows 7 at home, but work is still on XP slowly moving to 7. Please support Windows XP. I use virtual machines for demonstrations and I like the smaller footprint that XP provides.

  39. Earl says:

    I don't see why we should expect new software to run on an outdated OS that can't be properly secured from all the new exploits. To run NEW software it should require the respective OS be the same that it was created for and nothing else. If Microsoft wants to drop support for something that is using old technology so that a new product can use new technology then so be it.

    Everyone on XP should not expect that all new software being produced run on thier OS this is the life of software it will never be supported on all OS'es/Versions in the wild.

    Get over it and move on with the rest of the world!

  40. Tyler Cruse says:

    Upgrade blocked from

    Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 (SP1) – 10.50.2769.0 (X64)   Jun 24 2011 13:09:43   Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation  Developer Edition (64-bit) on Windows NT 6.1 <X64> (Build 7601: Service Pack 1)

    Was this planned?

  41. Why Knot says:

    Some of my development tools aren't even compatible with Windows 7 or Vista and not even having the option to test drive Denali at the client level is just a disappointment.

    Sorry Denali, I'll have to give you a try in about 5 years when the companies in my field decide to upgrade.

    In the meantime we will still be bound to third party solutions for Reporting Services inability to export > 255 columns.

  42. Mike Kruchten says:

    I'm fine with the server restrictions, it's the client tools that will prevent adoption in my group. We're currently still on XP and with 70,000+ desktops to upgrade Windows 7 is a long ways off. So currently I can't even get the CTP installed to play with.

  43. Rick Parish says:

    We won't be able to implement Denali LocalDB because of the XP limitation. We have no control over the computer that our agents use and the majority of them still use XP. If you want to force people to use Windows 7 so you can sell more product, give people a compelling reason to upgrade to Windows 7, don't force it on them. People develop a bad impression of your company.

  44. Rick Parish says:

    And by the way, corporations will probably hang on to SQL 2000, 2005 and 2008 even longer now that XP is not supported.

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