Last week the CSS SQL Server Engineers blog listed a note that some end of support dates were coming up. The end of support dates and products were:
- January 12, 2010 - Support ends for SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2
- April 13, 2010 - Support for SQL Server 2008 RTM ends
What's incerdibly amusing about the advice given for the first item is that if you are running SQL Server 2005, you should "upgrade to SQL 2005 SP3 or SQL 2008 SP1 immediately." Meaning that either apply Service Pack 3 or purchase a license to SQL Server 2008 and move there.
I'll stop now and call for your vote. Please pass this part along to friends, and ensure that everyone has voted for Service Pack 4 for SQL Server 2005.
Is this a big deal? If your server runs fine it doesn't matter, however after these dates, you cannot open a support call unless you have upgraded. So if you have a problem, you need to apply the Service Pack 3 for SQL Server 2005 before you can open a case. I would recommend that you apply Service Pack 3 anyway and get up to date on the most current service pack.
However it will matter later this year. According to the Support Lifecycle, server products get 12 months of support for service packs. However Microsoft has not responded to inquiries about Service Pack 4, which makes me think that all of the fixes, the patches, the changes which still roll out regularly, will not be completely tested. We haven't gotten indication that Microsoft intends to actually continue to properly support SQL Server 2005 until it's end of life.
So many people made an investment in moving their database servers to SQL Server 2005 over the last 4 years. Yet instead of continuing to provide us a rollup, well tested patch throughout the life cycle, Microsoft appear to be cutting corners and stopping their support early.
Some of you might not think it's a big deal, after all, we continue to get cumulative updates (CU) every other month or so. However have you read the KB articles for the CU releases? There's a great paragraph that's in CU7 for SQL Server 2005 SP3. It says (emphasis mine)
"This cumulative update package may receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by any of these problems, we recommend that you wait for the next SQL Server 2005 service pack that contains the hotfixes in this cumulative update package. "
But what if there is no Service Pack coming? You're stuck. If a security patch comes out, it could possibly require, and include, the previous CUs. Not necessarily, but it could, and then you are potentially stuck applying a lot of changes to your server that have not been thoroughly tested by Microsoft.
I applauded the new servicing model when it came out (a changed approach to Service Packs), but I am disappointed and saddened that Microsoft does not feel the need to follow through on providing us Service Packs throughout the life cycle of the product. Especially when my suggestion they do so has 700 votes. The highest voted bug has 95 votes, and the next highest suggestion below my 2 for Service Packs, has 145.
I guess time will tell if our opinions matter here. Please pass the word to all SQL Server professionals to vote for SP4.