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  1. Blog
  2. Article

Mohamed Wadie Nsiri
on 19 December 2023

Still running SQL Server on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or 18.04 LTS ?

Running SQL Server on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or 18.04 LTS? If so, this blog is for you to evaluate options to avoid compromising the security of your data

Houston, we have a problem

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and 18.04 LTS reached the end of standard support on 31 May 2021 and 31 May 2023, respectively.

While SQL Server is famous for being the least vulnerable database for over a decade, running it on an unsupported operating system can leave your data vulnerable to cyber security threats. It is therefore important to upgrade your stack to a supported setup. Let’s go over your options.

Solving the problem

You have two main options to mitigate risks:

  • Expand your security coverage with Ubuntu Pro to extend your support until April 2026 for Ubuntu 16.04 and April 2028 for Ubuntu 18.04.
  • Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS or Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

Let’s explore these two options in more detail.

How Ubuntu Pro can help

Ubuntu Pro provides you with Expanded Security Maintenance for an additional 5 years (so 10 in total). Second, it widens your patch coverage to more than 30,000 packages that are part of Ubuntu repositories (up from 2,300 packages in Ubuntu LTS). Moreover, it offers tools to harden your OS following the most stringent compliance regimes and security standards like ISO 27k, PCI-DSS, CIS, DISA-STIG and FedRAMP. With an Ubuntu Pro subscription, you can also opt in for 24/7 support.

You can upgrade to Ubuntu Pro in-place without the need for complex migrations. Please follow this tutorial for a step-by-step guide.   

You can also deploy new Azure virtual machines running SQL Server on top of Ubuntu Pro using the following optimised images from Azure’s marketplace:

Together, Canonical and Microsoft provide 24/7 support for the above configurations. You can use the same flow when opening support tickets in Azure to get help. Behind the scenes, Microsoft and Canonical coordinate to help you resolve your issues promptly. Ubuntu Pro is available for free for personal and small-scale commercial users on up to 5 machines. It is also available for bigger enterprise deployments with transparent, per-machine pricing.

Upgrading to Ubuntu 20.04 or Ubuntu 22.04

Transitioning to the latest operating system, such as Ubuntu 20.04 LTS or Ubuntu Pro 22.04 LTS, is another option to keep your stack supported. Using a more recent version of Ubuntu provides additional benefits like performance improvements and hardware enablement.  

Depending on your environment, it may be complex to execute such upgrades. Therefore, we recommend performing proper testing with your workloads. Our Ubuntu Server upgrade guide can help you plan for your upgrades. You also need to check that your SQL Server version is supported on the target Ubuntu version:

SQL Server versionSupported Ubuntu versionsReleases notes and details
SQL Server 201716.04 or 18.04Release notes for SQL Server 2017 
SQL Server 201916.04 or 18.04 or 20.04Release notes for SQL Server 2019 
SQL Server 202220.04 or 22.04Releases notes for SQL Server 2022 
Compatibility between Ubuntu versions and SQL Server versions

When opting for an out-of-place migration (using new VMs), we also recommend upgrading to the latest version of SQL Server to benefit from all the new added features.

More Information

You can learn more about Ubuntu support policies and lifecycle using:

If you have any questions, please contact the Canonical team.

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