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The Community Has Been Heard Expand / Collapse
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Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 6:25 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Community Has Been Heard






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Post #865189
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010 6:26 AM
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Continuing Service Packs and long term support are essential to maintaining the relationships that Microsoft has with the community. A recent poll of the users at our local SQL Server users group indicated that the majority of the companies repesented are still on SQL Server 2005. With the economy in the slumps, there isn't a lot of urge to upgrade to the latest expensive software when the older version can still do most of the job.
Post #865246
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010 7:24 AM
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Hmm, I was never convinced about SP4 for SQL2005 seeing as SQL2005 SP3 is so stable (in my environment anyway). It will be interesting to see how microsoft word the readme file and their recommendation on applying it (will they word it like a CU or recommend applying it).

As a SP management will presume it should be applied but its an outage and I have no bugs need fixing. I'm being selfish here but the timing will be awful for me and I am all patched out!

SP2 for 2008 is definitely needed and I voted for it so its good to see, but again from a selfish viewpoint the timing could not be worse, Q3 is when our plans have us migrating 2000 systems to live, so having done all our testing against against 2008 SP1 we are going to have to go through another cycle of testing soon after we go live, and on consolidated servers with a number of apps thats no small undertaking.

any chance of getting it out in Q2?



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Post #865256
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010 3:42 PM
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As far as our organization is concerned we really don't care whether they issue service packs or not. A year or more is way too long to wait for updates to problems we find in the product.

Instead we rely on the Cumulative Updates. If I had to wait until Q4 of 2010 to fix problems we ran into in SQL 2008 SP1, then my company would be sunk. Fortunately most of those issues were corrected by the CU's that came out shortly thereafter.

Which brings me to another thing, I have no idea why people think a Service Pack is of better quality than a CU. Service packs introduce just as many problems as CU's do. At least with a CU, the individual impact is much smaller and skipping one doesn't mean waiting another year or so for fixes.

Personally, I would have down voted this item on MS connect.
Post #865321
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010 4:45 PM


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Chris,

The problem with CUs is that most people don't have time to test. They won't waste time testing them, even for small issues. These updates are not tested as well as SPs, and most of the time when I've been in companies we would plan on SPs to ensure support, and fix minor things, but we wouldn't necessarily do that for CUs. Also, while you might find a fix in a CU, you need to backtrack through all previous CUs to see what else might be affected. They are cumulative of previous CUs.

If there are critical issues, people do apply CUs, but the majority of people I've spoken to don't want to bother with them.







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Post #865328
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010 4:47 PM


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George, not likely they'll do it sooner with R2 coming out.

You can just delay the application and plan on it for Q4 if time is tight. I do think SP3 is very, very stable. However if I had to call for support now and someone wanted me to patch up, I would be wary of applying a series of CUs to my systems that weren't necessarily well tested in the community and by MS. Having them roll up the CUs, give them a good testing and put them out to the community isn't a bad thing is it?







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Post #865329
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010 5:11 PM
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Steve,
The testing issue is the same whether you are installing a service pack or a CU with the primary difference being the interval between updates.

An example for us was the issue surrounding OPTION (RECOMPILE). We needed this functionality in SQL 2008 due to how we implemented data paging and sorting, but it was flawed. By SP1 they disabled it which, although lowered performance, actually improved results. CU5 fixed the problems completely and greatly improved performance for us.

Incidentally, SP1 had also broke ORDER BY in certain complicated queries. CU4 fixed that.

The point is, if we had ignored the CU's as it sounds like you are advocating then it would be at least 8 months (from now) before we would see that fix. With our application returning bad results the whole time. Our clients wouldn't appreciate that.

Which brings me to my point. MS should completely disband service packs altogether and instead improve their internal testing so that CU's run through the full testing framework. 2 Months is about right for fixes, 1 year or longer is a death sentence.

With regardes to having time to test, if an organization is not experiencing a problem on an internal application, then the only reason to apply updates is to get security fixes. For those, waiting 1 year or more is IMHO moronic. Waiting so long is exactly why Slammer and other SQL worms made their way through most companies. The updates had been available forever yet those worms took out a large number of servers.

Not having time to test can no longer be an excuse. To do so puts your company at risk.

Post #865333
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010 5:24 PM
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Steve Jones - Editor (2/14/2010)
You can just delay the application and plan on it for Q4 if time is tight.


Yes, I have some decisions to make there. I have set some targets and lined some resources up so its going to be difficult to push it back on the basis of a waiting for a service pack.

I do think SP3 is very, very stable. However if I had to call for support now and someone wanted me to patch up, I would be wary of applying a series of CUs to my systems that weren't necessarily well tested in the community and by MS. Having them roll up the CUs, give them a good testing and put them out to the community isn't a bad thing is it?


there have been a lot of CUs since SP3 so a final wrap up SP4 to sign off SQL2005 is a good thing for the vast majority of sites, it gives a definitive point to build 2005 installations to, it just does not suit me personally. SP3 is very stable and I expect no problems with my 2005 servers after this length of time so SP4 buys us nothing. Should something come up I would apply the SP4 but I doubt it will. I am not convinced the effort and outages involved in another SP rollout are worth it, BUT, if we do get caught out and I haven't applied the latest SP, well, I won't have a leg to stand on, so I will probably end up having to apply it just because the potential impact of not doing so is high, even though the risks of not applying it are extremely small.


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Post #865335
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010 5:38 PM
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Chris, if you are affected by issues that are fixed by CUs then you are right to apply the CUs, you just need to be aware CUs are not fully guaranteed to be bug free, and in Microsofts own words should only be applied if you are experiencing the issue addressed by the CU. I don't think Steve was advocating ignoring them, just only apply them if you have a cause to.

with MS committed to CUs every 2 months I don't think they are able to test them to the same level as SPs. CUs are the method MS have chosen to get fixes out to the community in a timely fashion.

If CUs were mini SPs that MS recommended should be applied there would be no way I could keep up with applying patches that frequently.

All we need is for MS to fully test and roll up the CUs into a SP on at least a yearly basis, just seems lately their attention has been distracted away from SQL2005 SPs by the needs of 2008.


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Post #865337
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010 5:40 PM
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BTW Steve, thanks for highlighting that these SPs are in the pipeline.

I'll send the Overtime Bill to you


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