Keeping up with SQL Server cumulative updates

Yesterday, a conversation on twitter reminded me that I haven't been keeping up with posting cumulative updates.  I missed these updates for SQL Server 2008 on March 15:

Cumulative Update #7 for SQL Server 2008 SP1 (10.00.2766)

Cumulative Update #10 for SQL Server 2008 RTM (10.00.1835)

And yesterday Glenn Berry (blog | twitter) was the first I know of to blog about Cumulative Update #9 for SQL Server 2005 SP3 (9.00.4294).  He also shares some interesting information about changes to the support policy – most importantly, SQL Server 2008 RTM is no longer a "supported service pack," so you can probably expect CU #10 to be the last update for that branch.  There is an upside to this: now that R2 is off the books, this must mean that work on SP2 is under way.

All of which made me echo a question asked in the community: "why can't I get notified when new updates are posted?"  Someone joked that they should wait for me to tell them about it.  Obviously I have failed at that, but there is still hope.  While they are much more haphazard and inconsistent than I would expect from a mature product, here are some resources that will let you stay on top of these updates without putting too much thought into it.

Microsoft SQL Server Release Services blog

http://blogs.msdn.com/sqlreleaseservices/default.aspx

Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed.  This is currently your #1 source for information about updates to both SQL Server 2005 and 2008.  Don't expect them to blog within 5 minutes of a public release, but if it's more than 12 hours, it's an anomaly.

SQLServerCentral.com build lists

SQL Server 2008 Build List

SQL Server 2005 Build List

Steve Jones has been maintaining these lists but, like me, he is not always on top of it (right now both lists are one cumulative update behind).

The official RSS feed for SQL Server 2005 KB articles

http://support.microsoft.com/common/rss.aspx?rssid=2855

When this feed first came out, I really felt like they had answered a big problem with the communication about cumulative updates.  If you are still using SQL Server 2005 and keeping it updated, you can subscribe to this feed and just watch for the title to include the text "Cumulative Update" — note that I posted about this feed once before.  The problem is that I am still trying to find equivalent feeds for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2.

The SQL Server web site

In response to this Connect request, they have tucked some cumulative update information up into the top right corner of this page:

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/sqlserver/aa336368.aspx

Unfortunately, this page is only worth the amount of effort they put into keeping it current.  Right now, it thinks the "latest cumulative update for SQL Server 2008" is CU #6, which was released last summer and has been superceded by a service pack and 4 newer cumulative updates in each branch.  The link for the "latest" SQL Server 2005 also points to a CU from last summer.  A for effort, E for execution.

Aaron Bertrand

I am a passionate technologist with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. I am a long-time Microsoft MVP, speak frequently at conferences, and write at SQLPerformance and MSSQLTips. In real life I am an architect at Wayfair.

11 Responses

  1. Bill Graziano says:

    I've also been keeping a list of builds at http://www.sqlteam.com/article/sql-server-versions

  2. AaronBertrand says:

    Thanks Bill.  Community efforts like this are definitely beneficial, but I hope Microsoft starts to take this more seriously… it should be an official offering.

  3. Chris Howarth says:

    The equivalent SQL Server 2008 feed is:
    http://support.microsoft.com/common/rss.aspx?rssid=13165

  4. AaronBertrand says:

    Thanks Chris, were you able to find the list of RSS feeds somewhere?  I couldn't find one published.
    A

  5. Chris Howarth says:

    I found the 2008 feed last year on this (non-MS) page:
    http://sqlblogcasts.com/blogs/sqldbatips/archive/2009/07/29/keeping-up-with-sql-server-kb-articles.aspx
    I agree that the feed links should be published on the MS site.
    Cheers
    Chris

  6. Jonathan Kehayias says:

    Aaron,
    If you goto http://support.microsoft.com/select/?target=hub you can see the solution centers.  The link to a specific solution center contains the necessary rssid, for example, the SQL Server 2008 solution center link is http://support.microsoft.com/ph/13165.  All you need is that trailing ID and you can plug it into the RSS link:
    http://support.microsoft.com/common/rss.aspx?rssid=
    There isn't a solution center listed for 2008 R2 yet, but once it ships there should be and you could find the RSS feed for it based on its ID.

  7. Erik Ejlskov Jensen says:

    This list of RSS feeds is here: http://support.microsoft.com/selectindex/?target=rss

  8. AaronBertrand says:

    What I was surprised at was that the product index does not show up in a search result.  Do they prevent the page from being indexed?  Neither of these searches yields anything like this:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22rss+feed%22+%22sql+server%22+site%3Asupport.microsoft.com&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
    http://www.bing.com/search?q=%22rss+feed%22+%22sql+server%22+site%3Asupport.microsoft.com&go=&form=QBRE&qs=n&sk=

  9. AaronBertrand says:

    Anyway thanks all for the input.  Seems like a great wiki article in the making.

  10. Glenn Berry says:

    I would definitly like to see Microsoft improve how they notify the SQL Server Community about new Cumulative Updates. One simple, low-effort thing they could try that would help a little would be to use a Twitter plug-in that tweets when the SQL Server Release Services blog is updated.
    I would also be interested in an opt-in process where I could sign up to get an e-mail when new CUs are posted.

  11. roman says:

    Q: "why can't I get notified when new updates are posted?"
    A: SQL Server Notification Services is being Removed from SQL Server 2008.