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Servicing SQL Server in the Future


Servicing SQL Server in the Future

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aaron.bertrand
aaron.bertrand
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Steve Jones - SSC Editor (1/28/2014)
Good points, Aaron, and I agree with you that I want CUs and quality has been good. However the caveats about support, and the fact that bi-monthly is quite fast, mean that this is an issue for support.


Sure, bi-monthly is too fast for some. But annually is also too fast for some, so how do you really meter those to not be "too fast"? Consider too that for someone really dying for a specific fix, even two months is too long. I like that every other month gives me the ultimate flexibility: I can install every single one, I can wait until two, three, six, seven or 18 have accumulated, or I can wait for a service pack.

Steve Jones - SSC Editor (1/28/2014)
Personally I'd also like to see the CU pages include all previous fixes from the last SP/RTM so that people are aware of what's included. They are cumulative, but it's easy to forget that previous fixes are included.


I think you may be onto something here. The only wrinkle is that someone then has to maintain that additional set of information, and that takes time away from fix development, regression testing, etc. That's not my argument, because you and I both know that that's either a simple copy & paste or (hopefully) a slightly different query to get the list at KB generation time, but that's what their argument will be. In any case, if people are reading closely enough that they see the warnings about regression testing etc. then they should also see the message about the cumulative nature of the updates:

Because the builds are cumulative, each new update release contains all the hotfixes and all the security updates that were included with the previous <major version> update release. We recommend that you consider applying the most recent update release.


I included the last sentence, because I find these articles quite two-faced. Here they recommend the latest cumulative update, but earlier in the document they say:

This cumulative package is intended to correct only the problems that are described in this article. Apply it only to systems that are experiencing these specific problems. The updates in this 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 2008 service pack that contains the hotfixes in this package.


I'm so torn; I don't know which recommendation to believe.
Matt Slocum
Matt Slocum
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We did have an instance or two that we were waiting for a fix coming in a CU, and that can be painful.
I'm definitely not advocating doing away with the CU update process, but would like to continue to see SPs roll out. I think this is especially important for a product that's going to be retired (like SP4 for SQL 2005) as this ensures that the most stable version of SQL Server is the one that rides off into the sunset.
pparsons
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This is sad news indeed, but from Microsoft not so surprising. Microsoft has never been "fence sitting" (sorry Steve), the only thing that has ever mattered to MS is MS. They push their market where they want it to go, and if we don't want to go there then tough luck. Once in a while an incident happens where they are temporarily swayed, but in this case I believe it is a corporate decision product-wide, not just SQL Server but across-the-board. As an independent (Windows) developer I have seen numerous instances where MS has abandoned previous MS-introduced technologies.

In my case my updates are dictated by my clients, very few apply CU's unless there is a really good reason, and then as others have noted we're not talking a 2-month cycle.

I could go into my client's issues with IE11 vs other browsers, but then IE11 would lose hands down, I used to be a die-hard MS fan ... not so recently

Phil
Gary Varga
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aaron.bertrand (1/28/2014)
Gary Varga (1/28/2014)
I wouldn't want to have to find and install all the relevant CUs.


Of course, CUs are called cumulative updates - this is not a cute name; they're actually cumulative. So if you're on any given branch, you only need to find one CU, it contains all the fixes in the previous CUs for that branch.


Doh!!!

Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
Gary Varga
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mauriciorpp (1/28/2014)
I'm sorry to spoil @Gary, but even if he is not directly affected by the CUxSP question, a lot of developers worldwide will be (in time). This is because the DBA can't change the application code when some random CU causes an un-wanted behaviour (because it wasn't tested enough to become a SP).

It will be the developer that will carry this burden. And the test-team fellows will feel this even more. So all the professional comunity will be affected at some level by this policy change, because it will affect not only SQL but all MS products.

Even if we don't test anything, installing 10 CUs over a year will cause more downtime than 1 single SP. I don't want to bring my servers down, no matter the reason. It makes me sad to see the server division getting messy because of end-user division changes.


I was being overly simplistic. Artistic licence and all that. Of course, we all know that we are not independent of each other really. I guess my point is that, in general, updating SQL Server is best left to the professionals. I am often lucky enough not to have to get involved in it. It is an additional complexity I can do without.

Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
Yet Another DBA
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Service packs vs CU is a pretty moot point for many companies as they dont know about either. They may not even remember which version they have in the first place.

3rd party vendors dont like sticking their necks out to say we recommend anything if they think they are going to get blamed and have to unexpectedly develop a work around. So what do the thousands of small clients do other than not sp/cu
mauriciorpp
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I agree @Aaron, SPs used to contain new features and require more testing. My point was about the effort to get people involved and documenting the whole process - this administrative overhead always happens, with small or big changes.

@Gary, I understand your point. I just used your post as an example to show that more people can be affected by this than the number of us complaining.

Actually I even made a post about this article to help spread the word, as I follow quite a few DBAs (and hope they follow me too! lol): http://thelonelydba.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/what-is-the-latest-sql-server-service-pack/
aaron.bertrand
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pparsons (1/28/2014)
This is sad news indeed,


What is "sad news"? Microsoft hasn't announced anything officially; in my admittedly naïve interpretation they're just dragging their feet a bit on releasing final service packs for sunsetting versions of SQL Server. They released 2005 SP3 and SP4 under similar pressure that we're applying now for 2008 and 2008 R2. Let's give them a chance to respond before concluding that they must have already made a decision that they will never release another service pack ever, which is what a lot of these doomsday messages sound like.
JeremyE
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Looks like MS is listening.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlreleaseservices/archive/2014/02/13/update-on-the-service-pack-plans-for-sql-server.aspx
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