I was reading Brad McGehee's blog and he noted that SQL Server 2008 R2 is due later this year in CTP form (you can sign up here if you want to be notified of the release). Brad was giving a review of TechEd 2009 in the US and he mentioned that SQL Server 11 was going to be a full release, as opposed to SQL Server 2008 R2, which is an interim release.
Now there's nothing wrong with an R2 release, and I actually applaud it. It gives people a chance to adopt some newer technologies, but not a radical change. Car companies have done this for years, with new models typically coming every four or five years and minor changes each year in between these major overhauls. It also gives people some confidence that someone else has essentially been using the product for a year or two and they're reported on many of the issues.
Brad, however, brought up another thought in his blog. He said that he thinks part of the R2 strategy is to get some of the technology into SQL Server from Windows 2008 R2, Office 2010, and Visual Studio 2010. The idea is to synch up the features between products.
I think that's an outstanding policy. While we'll never get the products released and updated at the same time, and who wants to upgrade a few major pieces of software at the same time, it would be nice if we had them more closely synced with point releases. I think it's better than patching, especially as it seems these releases tend to have more testing done on them than the cumulative updates.
There were numerous issues between the dev tools and SQL Server in 2005 and 2008 because of the time lags between releasing one or the other. Allowing a point release every other year might help to alleviate the issues, and reduce the time in which we have to implement workarounds to upgrade one side of our SQL Server environments.
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