July 9th, 2019 marked the end-of-life for Microsoft’s SQL Server 2008 which means there will no longer be security patches or updates. Since, SQL Server is the underlying database software that ChartMaker Medical Suite uses to maintain your data, we encourage you to upgrade to SQL Server 2016. In some cases there may be a need to also upgrade to a SQL Standard which may incur a cost. To read more about these changes, please read our article below:
What does end-of-life mean?
This is a term used by Microsoft to mean that they will release no more software updates from Microsoft, including security patches. This is very similar to what Microsoft (and Apple) do with older operating systems and hardware. Because there will be no security patches, it does raise a concern regarding HIPAA compliance.
Will the software continue to run?
This date merely means that Microsoft will no longer supply updates.
But, there is a risk that at some point, it may become incompatible with a future version of a Microsoft operating system. Our guess based on history is that incompatibility won’t happen for at least a year beyond 7/9/2019.
Why did STI stay on SQL Server 2008 R2 for over 8 years before moving to SQL Server 2016?
In short, this was the most cost-effective decision we could make on behalf of our clients. As a result, we avoided the costs associated with SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2014. Unfortunately, Microsoft is forcing our hand by deprecating SQL Server 2008 R2.
Note, by using SQL Server, we are able to maintain your data in a standard format that allows it to be shared with other software along with other software vendors and medical services; such as laboratories.
Is there a no-cost option for upgrading to SQL Server 2016?
For some clients, yes, there is.
For smaller medical practices running SQL Server 2008 R2 Express Edition (e.g. with databases under 10GB in size), there is no upgrade cost imposed by Microsoft when switching to SQL Server 2016 Express Edition. This upgrade will happen automatically when you receive a software upgrade for the Medical Suite on or after 10/15/2018. The computer on which SQL Server 2016 is installed must be running Windows Server 2012 or newer, or Windows 8.1 or newer.
For our larger clients (i.e. databases over 10GB in size), those who licensed SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard or Enterprise edition in June 2016 or later already have a license for SQL Server 2016 based on when you purchased it. You just happen to be using SQL Server 2008 R2 because that was the certified version with the Medical Suite. You can revert to the original license (SQL Server 2016) at no cost.
Also, if you have been paying Software Assurance to Microsoft on an annual basis, there is no cost to upgrade.
We generally discouraged this practice as the cost of Software Assurance (roughly 33% of the cost of a new license) spread over an 8 year period ends up being 2.5 times the cost of purchasing a new license outright.
What situations require purchasing a new license from Microsoft?
If you purchased a SQL Server 2008 R2 Workgroup, Standard, or Enterprise Edition license before June 2016, Microsoft does require you to buy a new license to run SQL Server 2016.
Are there cheaper alternatives than purchasing a new license?
STI has several options we can discuss with you.
SQL Server “CAL-Based” License
- This Client Access License method means paying for SQL server based on the number of staff using the system as opposed to the Core-Based license which is derived from the hardware on which the SQL software is running. Generally, for a staff under 25 people, a CAL-based license costs less.
- With clients signed up for our RCM plan, the cost of SQL Server is included. If you haven’t considered STI’s RCM services, this might be a great time to do that. More of our clients are finding this a better pricing solution while realizing greater revenue.
- Lastly, STI can offer an extended payment plan.