Renaming named instance

Hello, We are looking at moving our sql instance to a new server. A suggestion was made to keep the old server active (just in case) but rename the instance. Currently the sql instance is MyServer\MySQL, I read that if you rename the Windows server and restart the instance it should take the name of the server. Say you rename the Windows server to MyServerOld then the instanct would be MyServerOld\MySQL. Is this correct?

Also am I correct in thinking that SQL 2012 and SQL 2014 have minimum differences from SQL 2008R2 but SQL 2016 has many differences?

Thank you,

Yes you can rename the server and then that'll occur in SQL Server too.

As for differences between the versions, I'll refer you to the Microsoft site which can show you what's new. I'd say that 2008 R2 and 2016 have vast differences but not as many between 2012 and 2014.

Thanks @TaraKizer. Now to determine if we should just use 2008R2 or upgrade. Unfortunately 2016 is not an option at this time.

If you upgrade the version of SQL Server, you won't be able to go back to the old server, well not easily at least.

Yep, that much I know. If we upgrade would you suggest restore from backup or in place upgrade?

I don't ever recommend an in-place upgrade. Too dangerous.

I use backup/restore and prep the new server with diff+log chain so that my maintenance window can be tiny.

Thanks again.