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The Last Service Pack

By Steve Jones,

I might be presumptuous with this title, but I really think that SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2 could be the last service pack. There's a new servicing model with SQL Server 2017, and it's working well. We see Cumulative Updates (CU) released every month, with a regular set of fixes. This new model, along with the comfort that more organizations are getting with CUs might mean that there won't be a SP3 for SQL Server 2016, or maybe not for 2014. We may not get final rollups in SPs for these platforms, especially as there could be security patches needed after any final SP. In that case, perhaps a series of CUs is the way to go.

We will see if I am correct over the next few years, but for now we have SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2, released yesterday earlier this week. If you read the announcement, there are items ported forward from SQL Server 2014, which is good. I don't think I've seen this before, but I'm glad that features and functionality is being synced across branches and versions where it makes sense. It would be easy for Microsoft to ignore this and just move changes to 2017 only.

There are some improvements to monitoring and metrics as well. New DMVs, new columns in existing DMVs, new options, new ways to query information, and more. Plenty of fixes, some of which are detailed in KBs and some of which are VSTS issues that tracked internally by Microsoft. Many of these are minor fixes or changes, but they will improve the way that we work with the product. We even get the sys.dm_db_log_info DMV backported from SQL Server 2017.

While I slightly bemoan the lack of service packs in the future, I am embracing the CU path for the future. However, I also applaud Microsoft for releasing some fantastic Service Packs for SQL Server 2016. SP1 gave us lots of feature parity across editions. SP2 adds lots of small DMVs and improvements that will help ensure that we can better manage our database servers. I called SQL Server 2016 one of the best ever versions, and this service pack cements how I feel. 

If you're looking to upgrade, you ought to be moving to SQL Server 2017, but if you're on 2016, you might stay here for quite some time. Just be sure you apply this Service Pack and take advantage of the features from both SP1 and SP2. No one should be on RTM at this point, and no vendor ought to be limiting these patches.

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