SQL Server 2005 SP3 Expected in Summer '08
Microsoft this week announced through two blogs that it plans to release the next service pack to SQL Server 2005, Service Pack 3 (SP3). The release is timed for the third quarter of this year, or after Microsoft releases SQL Server 2008 to manufacturing.
In addition, Microsoft issued notes Monday describing the availability of Cumulative Update 7 (CU 7) for SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2.
CU 7 is intended for users "severely affected" by certain problems. Those not affected should wait until the next service pack is released, according to Microsoft's notes.
Microsoft's PSS SQL Server engineers strongly caution that applying CU 7 can affect "Analysis Services backup and sync operations." The problem is associated with a time-out issue, as the PSS SQL blog explains.
"After the fix a backup is treated as a blocker for a commit operation. Due to the way that lock compatibility operates in Analysis Services, once the commit operation is blocked, all incoming requests against objects in the database are also blocked."
The blog describes some workarounds, but it generally recommends that administrators schedule "database backups at a time that will not overlap with processing of objects in the database."
The Cumulative Updates are part of Microsoft's "incremental servicing model" -- a three-pronged approach to releasing important code corrections that Microsoft calls "hotfixes." Microsoft's Cumulative Updates contain all previously released critical on-demand hotfixes and are released every two months. They must be requested by customers, but any customer, regardless of their support level can request them.
A second way to get hotfixes is through Microsoft's "On-Demand" and "Critical-On-Demand" releases, which are solutions to specific customer-referenced problems that have no workaround fix.
The third way that Microsoft releases hotfixes is in a "general distribution release." Microsoft issues these general distribution releases when it needs to fix problems that affect customers more broadly, such as when security issues are involved.
Microsoft already has uploaded a page describing its next Cumulative Update for SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2. Cumulative Update 8, as it's called, is scheduled for release sometime in June.
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