Microsoft announced it was releasing a final update for the SQL Server 2008 Service Pack recently, but no sooner than you could determine how to correctly spell “Kilimanjaro” did the folks in Redmond issue SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 4.
SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3 was supposedly the last release, but there were two different releases for this particular version of SQL Server.
As Peter Vogel explained to Visual Studio Magazine, the issue extends to the different SQL Server releases – “Kilimanjaro” and “Gemini.” The former release included data warehousing capabilities while the latter included self service business intelligence features in the version prior to the R2 release. Microsoft handled development of each release separately. He says:
So, which of these service packs do you need? Grab SQL Server 2008 SP4. It includes all the fixes and updates found in SQL Server 2008 SP3. Microsoft claims this will be the last of the functional fixes for this version of SQL Server.
The newest service pack can be used to upgrade SQL Server 2008 editions, including:
Service packs aren’t really optional additions. These bundles of updates and fixes “are created and released for recognized issues,” explains Microsoft. By updating to the latest service pack, you are unquestionably using the latest and most secure version of the product available. In some cases, the most current supported service pack has to be installed in order for your organization to continue getting full support from Microsoft.
Here’s Microsoft’s description of the differences between the two service packs:
SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3 and SQL Server 2008 SP4 contain fixes to issues that have been reported through our customer feedback platforms. They contain Hotfix solutions provided in SQL Server 2008 R2 cumulative updates up to and including Cumulative Update 13, and SQL Server 2008 cumulative updates up to and including Cumulative Update 17. The Service Packs also include the security bulletin MS14-044. SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 are now in extended support, which means there will not be Cumulative Updates for these Service Packs.
In addition to the security benefits associated with downloading Service Pack 4, there are several enhancements the package offers. For example, it includes enhanced warning messages triggered when creating the maintenance plan if the Shrink Database option is enabled. It also offers transparent data encryption for databases – even those which may have had a security certificate dropped.
Database administrators will also appreciate that optimized query outcomes are available when the indexed Spatial Data Type column is used by the Database Tuning Advisor. It also tweaked the user interface, placing the Sequence Functions in a parallel execution plan.
Microsoft ended mainstream support for SQL Server 2008 in July. It will provide extended support for it until 2019. This means, if your organization has signed an extended support agreement with Microsoft, you can still download non-security and security-related updates for SQL Server 2008.
You can download SQL Server 2008 SP4 here.
If you have questions or concerns Microsoft hasn’t answered with these releases or if you’re considering upgrading to a new version of SQL Server and need assistance, please contact Datavail to discover how our database professionals can tailor a custom solution to your organization’s specific needs.
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