Conventional wisdom tells us that when Microsoft releases a new version of any server product, we should wait until Service Pack 1 before deploying it to production.
This hasn’t been true for a while now, since Microsoft recommended that Cumulative Updates for SQL Server carry the same confidence:
SQL Server CUs are certified to the same levels as Service Packs, and should be installed at the same level of confidence.
However, Service Pack 1 itself has been mired in some controversy. Microsoft didn’t make things any easier for us with SQL Server 2012, or 2014. Both versions had issues with their respective Service Pack 1.
Fortunately, SQL Server 2016 has broken the cycle, and along with all of the fixes in Cumulative Updates 1–3, and a security fix, we get better feature parity between Enterprise Edition and lower editions, including Standard, Web, Express and LocalDB.
There are some restrictions, of course, but the idea is that developers and vendors can write T-SQL for features that now appear across the board.
SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 1 now includes the following features for Enterprise, Standard, and Web Edition:
- In-Memory OLTP
- In-Memory Columnstore
- Always Encrypted
- Data Compression
- Change data capture
- And more!
If you want to take advantage of these features, but you use an older version of SQL Server, you will need to upgrade to SQL Server 2016 with Service Pack 1, but I think this is a no-brainer.
The good news is licences have cost the same since SQL Server 2012, and Standard Edition is almost a quarter of the price of Enterprise Edition.
I maintain that this is the most exciting release of SQL Server since 2005. If you want to upgrade, contact us and we’ll help. We will even upgrade you from SQL Server 6.5.