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SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 is Out

By Steve Jones,

Service Pack 2 is Out!

Yesterday Service Pack 2 was released for SQL Server 2005. This brings to an end a long period of testing the CTP, which has been out for quite a few months. A few download links below:

Hotfixed released before Jan 15, 2007 are included. Those after are not. Make a note of this. Also, the version number chart is now:

Version Number SQL Server Installation
9.00.1399 SQL Server 2005 RTM
9.00.2047 SQL Server 2005 SP1
9.00.3042 SQL Server 2005 SP2

This service pack has a number of changes, and you can read the details here. However I wanted to highlight a few things that most of you will want to know about.

Vardecimal - This received quite a bit of press early on, and I'm not sure how many of you will be affected. However, if you store lots of decimal data, especially in warehouse situations, this new type can save you a lot of space. Note that this is only in Enterprise Edition.

Maintenance Plans - Quite a few changes here. I think the two big ones are multiple schedules are now supported and you no longer need to install Integration Services for maintenance plans to work. Since this environment is built on SSIS, you had to install that component before now. The wizard also has the cleanup task, a huge omission before this.

There are also some enhancements for multiserver environments, fixing of bugs, etc, related to maintenance plans. If you apply this to your servers, maintenance plans created with SP2 machines cannot be read by pre-SP2 machines. Be careful of multi-server environments here.

Reporting Services - A couple of big changes here. First there's Sharepoint integration, which I'm sure quite a few people are looking forward to implementing. There's also the change back for the "Select All" in combo boxes, which disappeared in SP1.

SSAS and Mining - Office 2007 requires SP2, so you'll get enhancements if you have that version and apply this patch. There are some improvements in mining, but since I'm not a miner, not sure how significant they are. Maybe someone else will comment.

Integration Services - External data sources can be debugged easier, the Office 2007 sources are supported, some enhancements to tasks. If you've a heavy SSIS user, life is probably easier now. There are some conversion changes, so be sure to check the readme.

Replication - You can initialize snapshot or transactional replication using a snapshot in Enterprise Edition and merge enhanced to regenerate objects used to track changes.

Lots of little changes, mostly to enhance the experience, show that the SQL Server team is listening to users. It seems that there are less bugs fixed and more that this service pack brings us a smoother experience with SQL Server 2005. If you've installed SP2, or had issues late in the CTP process, I know people would like to hear of them. Please use the Discussion links at the top or the Your Opinion at the bottom.

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