I'd like to share your optimism for the CU release model, however so far we have had a couple of not so good experiences in this space with SQL Server 2017, that not only makes me wonder whether this is a good model, but also makes me wonder how much Microsoft have cut down on testing the releases (compared to Service Packs) as part of this shift.
We've had to roll-back SQL 2017 Cumulative Updates back to RTM due to breaking changes causing SSIS package failures (cube process task).
We also had recent similar issues with the "SSDT 2017 for VS 2015" installation (the dev tools for SQL 2017). This is a "stub installer" that downloads the latest binaries at install time. After downloading and successfully testing SSDT on one of our developer workstations we then rolled out SSDT 2017 to all other DEV workstations to find that not only had the binaries used by the installer stub changed since testing, but also that the project's XML file format appears to have changed and is not compatible between these 2 downloads!
If this strategy of "no more service packs" and monthly cumulative updates is to be successful, Microsoft need to:
- ensure that they keep on top of pre-release testing
- increase the amount of testing that is conducted (not cut back on it!)
- have a solid channel for customers/users to provide feedback and bug reports through (like the MS-Connect channel that was recently shut down and replaced with a blog)
- be able to respond swiftly in resolving reported issues and bugs