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SELECT Hints, Tips, Tricks FROM Hugo Kornelis WHERE RDBMS = 'SQL Server'

Want a Service Pack? Ask for it!

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Published Friday, February 1, 2008 10:19 PM by Hugo Kornelis

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Denis Gobo said:

you got my vote

February 1, 2008 3:23 PM

Hugo Kornelis said:

Just commenting to my own post here to let you all know that fellow MVP Steve Jones, editor of, has apparently picked up on the same issue. He posted an editorial about this at, and there have been many replies, almost all in favor of releasing service pack 3 - you can read them at (registration might be required).

February 1, 2008 3:24 PM

Denis Gobo said:

February 1, 2008 3:25 PM

Hugo Kornelis said:

Thanks for the heads up, Denis; the URL is now changed.

Also, thanks for the vote!

February 1, 2008 3:31 PM

Denis Gobo said:

Hugo, maybe after the SP2/SP2A debacle they are scared to release another service pack  ;-)

February 1, 2008 3:33 PM

Pam said:


We've actually just been discussing this at work.  We want to update as I suspect some of the patches may help us but since we haven't run into any show-stoppers we haven't.

Their reasoning just seems ... odd ...

February 1, 2008 4:45 PM

Anonymous said:

Anyone know why the CUs can't be freely downloaded anymore?  CU1-CU4 *were* previously available, without contacting anyone.  I don't know about CU5.  But as of now, ALL OF THEM are locked down.  Extremely annoying!

February 1, 2008 5:17 PM

Pam said:


Were you part of some secret society?  Every time I've looked at the CU's they've been locked down (even pre-5).  Granted, I never spent much time pursuing them so I may have missed something.

February 1, 2008 5:47 PM

Denis Gobo said:

>>Were you part of some secret society?

SQL Illuminati?

February 1, 2008 5:56 PM

Hugo Kornelis said:

Hi Adam,

Like Pam, I've never seen anything other than "call us, then we might give you access to these precious bits" verbiage. You must have been priviledged...

February 1, 2008 6:14 PM

Scott R. said:

I echo your concerns, with these specific observations:

-  Since when have past software maintenance levels been determined by popularity?  Issues like this are not and should not be a matter of opinion polls or requests.  Customers shouldn't have to ask permission for software maintenance to be provided on a timely basis.  I don't mind voting to get their attention, to fix a broken process.  The problem is how the process got broken and Microsoft's willingness to acknowledge the issues and fix the process for good (not just for SP3, but ongoing as a policy).

-  Per Adam's note: SQL 2000 also had CUs, but they were generally accessible after a reasonable maturity / "bake-in" period (my term - just an observation - not sure if it was Microsoft policy or not).  So SQL customers could judge for themselves when a given CU was mature / "baked" / ready (based on forum feedback, etc.) and apply to keep current (without having to get special permission to even get the CU).

This same process seemed to be in place for SQL 2005 through RTM, SP1, and SP2 CU1.  All later CUs for SP2 (CU2 and on) have been "locked down" (requiring special permission to even download them, much less use them - with the same caveat "not as thoroughly tested as an SP").  This seems to be an unstated Microsoft policy change to me (in addition to the long delay for SQL 2005 SP3).

I understand that CUs are treated as "less tested" than an SP, and therefore are almost "apply at your own risk, and don't use if not needed" (not quite, but almost!).  My concern is that important fixes (security, key functional defects, etc.) may not be getting corrected in production environments for a number of reasons (the less accessibility of the CUs with the lock-down, the lack of forum feedback on CUs because of the lockdown, the lack of a more-tested SP (can anyone say SP3?), etc.).  It is a vicious cycle.  It is also counter to Microsoft's past commitment to promptly and thoroughly addressing security issues.

I understand the importance of getting a new product version (SQL 2008) out the door, but it should not come at a cost of diminished support levels and policies on existing "supported versions".

-  I have also heard arguments by some that SPs (and by implication, CUs and individual hot fixes) shouldn't be a worry point - just use Windows Update / whatever to keep your products up-to-date.  At times, this position was also made for not waiting for SP1 of a given product as a maturity point (commonly done at many sites) because you can get the in-beween-SP maintenance stream through automated means.  Most of us would agree this is an ideal but very naive view of the issues.  If hot fixes and CUs are not as thoroughly tested as SPs, then you haven't solved that problem, and the maturity issues remain - no matter how the software maintenance is packaged or delivered.  If Microsoft chooses to offer hot fixes and CUs that are tested at comparable or better levels as SPs are currently tested, then maybe we are getting closer to a solution.  We still need to have change management processes in place that allow a controlled migration of software maintenance (in whatever form - hot fixes, CUs, or SPs) through a set of staged environments at customer sites (and not the "open the flood gates" approach - lacking change management and control points - that the idealists seem to imply).

Bottom line: Software maintenance publication and packaging must be timely, tested, and accessible to be useful.  Unstated policy changes have made that position worse for SQL Server 2005 SP2 than in prior versions and maintenance levels.  It would be beneficial to have a documented software maintenance policy from Microsoft that meets the stated needs, including timeliness, level of testing, support, and availability without "permission slips".

Just my 2 cents.  Let's hear yours!

Scott R.

February 1, 2008 6:18 PM

Derek Comingore said:

You have my vote!

February 2, 2008 12:24 PM

Alex Kuznetsov said:

Hugo, you got my vote.

February 2, 2008 4:04 PM

Neal Waterstreet said:

I voted too. I'm a bit surprised/disappointed that the SPs work this way.

February 2, 2008 8:09 PM

Uri Dimant said:

Hi Hugo

You got my vote as well

February 3, 2008 12:24 AM

Mladen said:


February 3, 2008 10:01 AM

AaronBertrand said:

The CUs have always been "locked down" for me, too.  Of course, having the contacts that we do, "locked down" is a very relative term, it essentially meant two more clicks, typing a sentence, and then a third click.  :-)

February 3, 2008 12:13 PM

jerryhung said:


but whether I trust the SP3 after the SP2 chaos is a different story

February 4, 2008 10:00 AM

Chris Wood said:

Why couldn't they make CU6 the SP3?


February 4, 2008 11:32 AM

Hugo Kornelis said:


>>Why couldn't they make CU6 the SP3? <<

A Service Pack gets much more testing than a CU. I guess that's the reason they don't want everyone to install the CU's - to much risk of new or regression bugs biting tooo many customers.

I'd much rather have them put some time, people, and capacity asiide now and start giving CU5 the testing they normally use for SP's - then relabel CU5 as SP3 and publish (after fixing the bugs found in this more rigorous testing of course).

I guess that, if they decide to devote the time and caacity to it, it should be possible to have a CTP version of SP3 out within a month, and the official version one or two months after that.

February 4, 2008 11:57 AM

Chris Wood said:


I just thought of using CU6 as the start point rather than CU5. As you mentioned it would then have more complete testing and would come out in an April/May time frame rather than February.


February 4, 2008 12:18 PM

Chuck Heinzelman said:

I've requested and received CUs in the past, but I've had problems getting the right platform version.  I request the IA64 version, but they send me the x64 version.  The only way that I could get the IA64 version was to ask for every platform.

February 4, 2008 3:20 PM

Hugo Kornelis said:

@Chris: Fair enough. I still prefer them to start working on SP3 (based on CU5) rather than wait, but I see your point - and I'd be happy with ANY service pack at the moment!

@Chuck: Another good reason to ask for service packs - once the bits are on a public download page, you've only got yourself to blame if you get the wrong version :-)

February 4, 2008 4:54 PM

Satya SKJ said:

Count my vote too!

Keeping in mind about SP2 blurb, fingers crossed that it won't be repeated!

February 5, 2008 5:15 PM

Chris Wood said:


There is a reference, dated Jan 31/2008, in bug 264653 to SP3. So maybe it is coming soon! How many approvals for your bug 326575 do you think you need? It is well over 100 now!


February 7, 2008 10:23 AM

Chris Wood said:


Here is a reason to start at CU6: -

How does this happen so far into an SQL release?


February 11, 2008 9:38 AM

Greg said:

It has been almost 4 years since XP sp2, (August 25, 2004), release XP service pack 3 instead of SQL Server SP3.    Shouldn't there be a patch rollup or sP3 when the number of patches is > 100?

February 11, 2008 4:22 PM

Chris said: you think there might be a chance in the next SP to fix the UPDATE..FROM issues with the INSTEAD OF UPDATE triggers?

That is just killing me. Now without that I'm having to maintain two separate set of tables with FOR triggers. UGH!!!

Or is Microsoft just going to ignore us on that one...with a "will consider for a future release?"

February 25, 2008 1:00 PM

Heinrich said:

Yes, it's time to give us SVP3. You have my vote. I don't want a buggy DBMS for ever...or should i switch to Oracle ;-)

February 27, 2008 8:51 AM

pecko88 said:

Can anyone recomend me a good book for a SQL beginer. I have instaled SQL 2005 Developer editin. Earler I have been working with Access db`s.

March 1, 2008 10:41 AM

pecko88 said:

You allso have my vote.

March 1, 2008 10:42 AM

NYX said:

My 2 cents.....regression testing is time and resource consuming.  Perhaps more focus and emphasis was placed on the 2008 release rather than cleaning up 2005?

March 18, 2008 2:42 PM

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About Hugo Kornelis

Hugo is co-founder and R&D lead of perFact BV, a Dutch company that strives to improve analysis methods and to develop computer-aided tools that will generate completely functional applications from the analysis deliverable. The chosen platform for this development is SQL Server. In his spare time, Hugo likes to visit the SQL Server newsgroups, in order to share and enhance his knowledge of SQL Server.
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