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Release Final Service Packs for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 by Glenn A. Berry


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Type: Suggestion
ID: 814658
Opened: 1/24/2014 12:55:10 PM
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Microsoft should release SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 4 and SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 3 before both products go out of mainstream support on July 8, 2014.

Since many organizations still refuse to install Cumulative Updates, we have the very strong possibility of many customers running some very old builds of SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 going forward unless we get a final set of Service Packs for both versions.
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Posted by Microsoft on 5/29/2014 at 5:56 PM
Hi all

Please refer to what I have announced earlier today (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlreleaseservices/archive/2014/05/29/update-on-the-service-pack-plans-for-sql-server-2008-and-sql-server-2008-r2.aspx).
As always thanks for taking the time to share feedback to us, this is very valuable.

Regards.
Jean-Yves Devant
Senior Program Manager
• Servicing PM of High Availability and Mobile Technologies in SQL Server.
• Feature PM for Replication Technologies.
• Business owner, release PM and project manager of Service Packs for SQL Server.
Posted by Microsoft on 5/29/2014 at 5:56 PM
Hi all

Please refer to what I have announced earlier today (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlreleaseservices/archive/2014/05/29/update-on-the-service-pack-plans-for-sql-server-2008-and-sql-server-2008-r2.aspx).
As always thanks for taking the time to share feedback to us, this is very valuable.

Regards.
Jean-Yves Devant
Senior Program Manager
• Servicing PM of High Availability and Mobile Technologies in SQL Server.
• Feature PM for Replication Technologies.
• Business owner, release PM and project manager of Service Packs for SQL Server.
Posted by Glen H on 5/27/2014 at 3:48 PM
Absolutely, Microsoft should release a final service pack encapsulating all existing CUs, with the additional regression testing that is put into Service Packs. Why is this even a consideration? I would assume that this should be standard operating procedure.
Posted by Werner Geuens on 5/27/2014 at 2:54 AM
Most of my customers refuse to install Cumulative Updates and as a result they are running on old builds of SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2. Most of them are migrating to SQL Server 2012, but as SP1 was released in November ‘12 the number of known issues is becoming scary. Please supply us with service packs at regular intervals as this will help us improve the quality of SQL Server installations in the field! I actually got two customers to skip SQL Server 2012 and go straight to SQL Server 2014 for this reason, aha… maybe that’s you game :-)
Posted by AaronBertrand on 5/22/2014 at 12:11 PM
I posted a comment back in January, but I'm going to add to that.

For this debate to still be going on after this many months, and with so much upside and such little downside to issuing final service packs, is depressing. The folks at Microsoft seem to be spending more time arguing about whether this is a good idea than it would have taken to just do it and be done with it.

All you really need to do is this:

1. Take the current CUs that exist for 2008 and 2008 R2, and bludgeon them with the battery of regression tests you normally reserve for Service Pack builds.

2. Bump the build number by 1.

3. Release those with new service pack labels, and assemble new KBs that show the sum of all of the fixes from all of the dozen+ CUs that came before them.

For good measure, fix the wording on future cumulative update KB articles such that customers aren't afraid to install them. This gives you a slightly less embarrassing out if you should decide in the future that it's a good idea to end the final branch of a major version at CU #17.
Posted by John Kochanek on 5/22/2014 at 11:18 AM
I work for a health care non-profit and upgrades for all applications is not always feasible. Please release a final SP
Posted by k_hoona on 5/22/2014 at 8:35 AM
Organizations apply updates (CU, SP, etc.) based upon guidance from Microsoft and their internal release/maintenance cycles. Microsoft's frightening disclaimers on CU's greatly suppresses their adoption, making Service Packs more important throughout the life cycle of each release. Late or "final" service packs should be a key part of this strategy.
Posted by John H Davis on 5/22/2014 at 7:18 AM
Yes, we need final SP's for both of these versions. I am running vendor software that will not be upgraded & requires us to be on these versions of SQL Server.
Posted by JHRandall on 5/22/2014 at 6:54 AM
The MS SQL Server team must understand the business and technical arguments for service packs. Most organizations have limited time and resources to test patches against all their SQL Servers, then plan downtime etc. to install them in production. "Advanced" features like any of the HA/DR technologies, replication, etc. makes the process even more time consuming and risky. While service packs are an added expense for Microsoft, that expense comes with the territory of selling expensive, mission-critical software. Please do the right thing by your customers - the people and organizations who make your paychecks possible.
Posted by Nineinone on 5/22/2014 at 6:30 AM
"We're one of those companies that doesn't install CUs unless we hit a bug that is fixed by one and we cannot work around it. Therefore, we need the SPs to get the final updates on our production systems that won't be upgraded for a while, if ever. We have vendor software in production from vendors that have gone away so we aren't going to be upgrading those SQL 2008 and SQL 2008R2 instances. Please release final Service Packs!"

What Steve Dybing [Starbucks] said on 5/20/2014 at 10:11 AM!
Posted by DBA_Ian on 5/22/2014 at 6:16 AM
Microsoft, you know it makes sense.
Posted by mwalbert on 5/22/2014 at 6:11 AM
agree wholeheartedly.
Posted by icamp8 on 5/22/2014 at 5:53 AM
I work for a non-profit and we definitely cannot afford to upgrade as often. Final service packs are a must.
Posted by mjames1621 on 5/22/2014 at 5:36 AM
Ten years of support on a backbone product like SQL is entirely reasonable. Rapid upgrade cycles lead to IT departments running in circles and not moving forward to address the needs of the businesses they support.
Posted by KU4V on 5/22/2014 at 5:23 AM
It will be 18+ months before we will be able to purchase machines and could migrate to SQL2014. We need the latest CU's rolled up to create a more stable base during this period.
Posted by dcamer001 on 5/22/2014 at 5:23 AM
Many businesses cannot justify or afford the expense upgrading the applications that are using SQL Server and many of these applications will not run on newer versions due to feature deprecation. Therefor we are often stuck running “legacy” versions of SQL Server. A final roll-up service pack of all the fixes between the last service pack and end of life would be a great way to cleanly end product support and provide faster, easier recovery in event of a disaster. This is in Microsoft’s best interest as well. Just one bad recovery experience could convince a CIO to move to a competitor’s product.
Posted by TJonesReston on 5/22/2014 at 5:08 AM
Service Pack Updates are critical - easier to communicate to the business exactly which release, and how up-to-date your current installation really is.
Posted by AThurgar on 5/22/2014 at 4:36 AM
Service Packs at least one a year until end of life for all supported versions.
Posted by nabucm on 5/22/2014 at 2:27 AM
I couldn't agree more, but I think in the article you stated that Microsoft's support policy was for 10 years. I believe that they offer a minimum of 5 years support not 10 years, and therefore SQL Server 2008 support is scheduled to end.

It is certainly right to call for Microsoft to end the product's shelf life, with a final service pack release at the end of its life, so that should one choose not to upgrade, you can at least at the end of product mainstream support, update the product you are using, to include all previous cumulative updates, as I agree, the disclaimers around these cumulative updates, disuade users from upgrading until a proper SP is released.
Posted by Tony Bater on 5/22/2014 at 1:21 AM
Makes perfect sense. Please make this a standard on all versions (not just 2008/2008R2).
Posted by MikeBlock on 5/22/2014 at 12:42 AM
MS Please make this as standard practice
Posted by Anton Alisov on 5/21/2014 at 10:40 PM
Do it
Posted by Itse_joke on 5/21/2014 at 11:03 AM
Go ahead Microsoft !
Posted by Steve Dybing [Starbucks] on 5/20/2014 at 10:11 AM
We're one of those companies that doesn't install CUs unless we hit a bug that is fixed by one and we cannot work around it. Therefore, we need the SPs to get the final updates on our production systems that won't be upgraded for a while, if ever. We have vendor software in production from vendors that have gone away so we aren't going to be upgrading those SQL 2008 and SQL 2008R2 instances. Please release final Service Packs!
Posted by Hugo Kornelis on 5/20/2014 at 9:23 AM
MarkVSQL makes a very good point on trust and credibility that I had overlooked in my initial reply. If I could go back and edit my reply, I would.
Please disregard my earlier suggestion that changing the advice on CUs is a good alternative, it is not. We need that Service Pack!
Posted by PearlKnows on 5/20/2014 at 9:11 AM
"Since many organizations still refuse to install Cumulative Updates, we have the very strong possibility of many customers running some very old builds of SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 going forward unless we get a final set of Service Packs for both versions. "

Just faced this recently. Totally agreed. Thanks!
Posted by SQLCraftsman on 5/20/2014 at 8:09 AM
I agree on the need for a final Service Pack for both products. From the user perspective, it streamlines the deployment process. Regardless of Microsoft's marketing desires, these products will have a long and prosperous life for many years to come. DBAs need to be able to deploy finalized versions without multiple patch/reboot cycles. From a business perspective, it is in Microsoft's and the community's interest to have everyone on the latest patched versions. However, most companies have a policy based on Microsoft Best Practices of only applying Cumulative Updates if there is a verified bug that it fixes for that system. Creating a "final" Service Pack would allow companies to follow policy and Microsoft guidance while maintaining the most current patch level for down-rev systems.
Posted by MarkVSQL on 5/20/2014 at 7:34 AM
I agree a hekaton. Sorry. I couldn't resist that. Wrapping up SQL 2008 and SQL 2008 R2 with nice clean Service Packs would be ideal for our clients, particularly those that are unable to install CUs for one reason or another. While a change in the advice around CUs may seem like it would help, I feel it would likely just raise more questions from customers instead of getting the goal we all share here. If the advice from MS is to only install CUs when they affect you, breaking from that now will make people question advice from Microsoft at this time and wonder why now? Why this CU? Why break from longstanding advice now?

The true answer here, in my opinion, is a final Service Pack for each version.

Thanks.
Posted by Phil Brammer on 5/20/2014 at 7:09 AM
As Hugo states, "Either remove the official recommendation to not apply a CU unless already bitten by an issue, or wrap up all those great fixes and put them out in that final service pack that we then all can install."

I completely agree. It is time to re-look at the servicing model so that customers are no longer confused by verbiage throughout various MS documents. Should I install the latest CU, or continue with a service pack that was released almost 3 years ago? Also, extended support for the 2008* versions does not end until 2019, so a final roll-up package is warranted.
Posted by Hugo Kornelis on 5/20/2014 at 6:48 AM
There have been a lot of CUs since the last SP - if I am not mistaken, the count is 17 for SQL2008 SP3 and 12 for SQL2008R2 SP2. There are a lot of good fixes in those CUs, including crashes, bad performance, or incorrect results bugs.
All these CUs are distributed with the recommendation to "Apply it only to systems that are experiencing these specific problems" (which people usually don't know until it happens at least once; incorrect results bugs can linger for years and cause severe damage; bad perf can be unnoticed but a huge cost factor for the customer for years). They also come with the recommendation to "upgrade your SQL Server to the latest SQL Server 2008 (R2) service pack", which would be a great recommendation if that were actually an upgrade.

Please do whatever it takes to avoid consultants getting "the look" when advising customers to apply the last patches. Either remove the official recommendation to not apply a CU unless already bitten by an issue, or wrap up all those great fixes and put them out in that final service pack that we then all can install.
Posted by Régis Baccaro on 5/20/2014 at 6:17 AM
This would be great if Microsoft could release the above mentioned service packs before SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 faces the desolation of binary emptiness, so we can keep on working with the customers that have relied on these versions of SQL Server for many years but are never keen on installing Cumulative Updates.
Thanks in advance.
Posted by swasheck on 5/15/2014 at 8:49 AM
Could we get a status update on this?
Posted by David.Buzz on 4/9/2014 at 4:01 PM
Yep, agreed. Should be standard practice for all products going out of support.
Posted by cehottle on 4/9/2014 at 8:10 AM
Do it.
Posted by Bill Barnes (DBAOnTheGo) on 4/8/2014 at 1:01 PM
We've been good this year, I swear!
Posted by Collins Emetonjor on 3/26/2014 at 7:19 AM
MS please go for it!
Posted by JCartledge on 3/21/2014 at 8:11 AM
I agree with AlHildreth. At the end of a support cycle, there should definitely be a final service pack released. It just makes sense.
Posted by Andomar_ on 3/14/2014 at 4:06 AM
I can confirm that where I work, admins only install service packs.
Posted by cehottle on 3/6/2014 at 8:06 AM
Do it.
Posted by AlHildreth on 3/6/2014 at 6:00 AM
At the end of any support cycle, there should be a 'final' service pack released. It allows an IT department with too few employees to quickly catch up. Then they can focus on the next version (2012) without spinning their wheels trying to make sure they have all their servers patched with cumulative updates.
Posted by rfroman on 3/3/2014 at 11:22 PM
+1, SP4 and SP3 should be released before mainstream support ends as well as clarification for the messaging around CU installations
Posted by Regelos on 2/28/2014 at 7:40 AM
Of course this honestly should be the standard practice as soon as a product sundowns.
Posted by HKouts on 2/28/2014 at 6:53 AM
Agree. This should be a routine business practice of Microsoft to release a final SP to cover all CUs. Thanks!
Posted by Melvis137 on 2/28/2014 at 5:30 AM
No brainer, actually...
Posted by schizi on 2/27/2014 at 11:24 PM
Please do.

Thanks
Posted by Mark Hions on 2/24/2014 at 11:08 AM
Hoping for something meaningful about this issue, I went to the blog post that Jean-Yves mentioned. It says only that Microsoft is "actively working to clarify the service pack story", which I suspect means whatever you want it to mean, but certainly nothing either way or pertinent.

11 CUs is a lot of CUs. To have the product end its life with a recent Service Pack should be a no-brainer.
Posted by Wilfred van Dijk on 2/24/2014 at 12:10 AM
I think it should be a good behaviour to create a service pack after 5 CUs. 11CUs it not the situation we want
Posted by bit 64 on 2/23/2014 at 10:28 PM
Please release these Service Packs, thanks in advance.
Posted by CFRandall on 2/14/2014 at 9:50 AM
Please do.

Thanks
Posted by Microsoft on 2/13/2014 at 5:39 PM
Hi all,

I just wanted to let you know that I have posted an update on the SQL Release Services Blog (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlreleaseservices/) to answer the feedback you are raising through this Connect item.
Thanks
Regards.

Jean-Yves Devant 
Senior Program Manager
Servicing PM of High Availability and Mobile Technologies in SQL Server.

Release PM of Service Packs for SQL Server.
Posted by Olsup on 2/12/2014 at 7:03 AM
Agreed for both !

regards
Olavo
Posted by inr_r on 2/4/2014 at 3:41 PM
Agreed.

Regards

Ayyanar
Posted by Murali Krishnan.K on 2/3/2014 at 6:04 AM
I also agree. The service pack should be released for both.

Regards,
Murali

Posted by AnupSivaDas (AnupWarrier) on 1/29/2014 at 11:39 AM
+1, SP4 and SP3 should be released before mainstream support ends.
Posted by cehottle on 1/28/2014 at 6:39 AM
Do it.
Posted by D. McCallie on 1/28/2014 at 5:55 AM
Software defects are resolved by CUs and CUs are rolled up into Service Packs. SPs are tested more thoroughly than CUs; therefore, "Please release Service Packs in a timely fashion!"
Posted by Christoph Muthmann on 1/27/2014 at 11:25 PM
Great!
We only can deploy servicepacks in our organisation with more than 130 companies. So CU's won't help us much.
Posted by Mart76 on 1/27/2014 at 2:38 PM
It would really help tidy things up and allow more Microsoft customers to get the most they can out of their installation. As others have said, not all customers are able to install CUs and the final service packs would bring a customer focused close to the support of the products.
Posted by Bradley Ball on 1/27/2014 at 1:15 PM
Agreed, I've worked with some large Enterprise level Customers that have 1000's of instances. The majority in retail locations. A retail upgrade for a service pack, regression testing for all retail applications, getting business owner sign off , and then a measured rollout that slowly increments in number of server's upgraded after successful deployments can take over a year. For that reason these clients only upgrade on SP's and do not apply CU's or hotfixes unless they are applicable to a break fix.



Posted by ChrisAVWood on 1/27/2014 at 7:19 AM
Have to agree with Aaron on this. My organization believes in CU's but many don't. Please create a server pack for SQL2008 and SQL2008R2 when they reach end of life.

Chris
Posted by AaronBertrand on 1/27/2014 at 6:46 AM
+1000. Give people a roll-up of all the fixes between the last service pack and end of life. Add a disclaimer to the service pack that says "this release will no longer receive cumulative updates." This is a very clean and tidy way to get people up to date at the very time when you want to stop supplying them with little incremental fixes - this makes for happy people all around. Since cumulative updates are, well, cumulative, you could even just call the last CU for a branch a service pack (assuming it goes through the same rigorous testing we've all come to expect for service packs).

In the future, if you want branches to die on a CU without a final service pack, then stop putting that stupid disclaimer on the CU KBs / download pages, and make it clear to users that cumulative updates are in fact not made of poison, kryptonite and asbestos, with a nice coating of mercury and lead paint for good measure. The only people that won't catch are the ones who have that disclaimer fused to their brain because you've entrenched that opinion into them for several years. Of course, you kind of kick yourself in the teeth with this every time you release a service pack with "issues" yet continue to release CUs that seem more stable and fix a lot of issues that - at least right now - people waiting for service packs may never receive. I was joking the other day in the MVP DL but I'm pretty sure there have been more service packs published with some kind of "oops" than CUs - I can only remember 2 CUs that published with issues, but certainly many more service packs with problems.
Posted by Uwe Ricken on 1/27/2014 at 5:47 AM
Due to reservation to CU's many customers refuse the Installation of CU's. Additional problem for this point is the warning of Microsoft itself to install CU's. The result are many companies / customers running old builds of SQL Server.
Posted by swasheck on 1/24/2014 at 5:30 PM
Agreed. Current documentation is the cause for many organizations' refusal to install CUs.
Posted by pmpjr on 1/24/2014 at 1:28 PM
I completely agree with Phil
Posted by Phil Brammer on 1/24/2014 at 1:11 PM
Agreed. Guidance from Microsoft, either by changing the messaging around CU installations, or by releasing SP4 would be appreciated.
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