Changes to the SQL Server servicing model (Cumulative Updates)

On Monday of this week, Microsoft announced changes to the servicing model for SQL Server, starting with SQL Server 2017.

From today onward, we can expect to see the following during the first five years after release (known as Mainstream Support):

  1. One Cumulative Update per month for the first twelve months.
  2. One Cumulative Update every two months thereafter (bi-monthly), for two more years.
  3. After three years, this might change to a quarterly release cadence.
  4. There is no slipstream installation media included with the annual Cumulative Update.

Note: Slipstream installation media refers to an updated installer for SQL Server that includes the most recent annual Cumulative Update. The idea is that when we install SQL Server, we can be assured that we have at least the first year of fixes included.

Originally, the model was as follows:

  1. One Cumulative Update per month for the first twelve months.
  2. One Cumulative Update every three months thereafter, for four more years.
  3. The Cumulative Update would include a slipstreamed install, including all CUs to that point.

I am encouraged by Microsoft increasing the cadence for Cumulative Updates for the first three years, however I am slightly disappointed that the annual CUs don’t include a slipstreamed installer. While I understand Microsoft’s reasoning, it does mean having to maintain my own slipstreamed installation media, which may be something you need to consider doing as well. If you haven’t made a slipstream of SQL Server before, I’ll be covering how to do that in an upcoming post.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo by Kuan Fang on Unsplash.

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