Microsoft on Tuesday confirmed that it plans to release a third service pack for SQL Server 2005 by the end of the year.
In a Tuesday blog post, Francois Ajenstat, Microsoft 's director of SQL Server marketing, announced that Microsoft will deliver SQL Server 2005 SP3 after the release to manufacturing of SQL Server 2008, which is currently slated for Q3.
"Our goal is to get SP3 released in the market in [calendar year] 2008," wrote Ajenstat.
Ajenstat said the decision was made "in the spirit of transparency" and to give customers as much advance notice as possible for testing and planning deployments. This statement is somewhat ironic in light of the cone of silence Microsoft has traditionally maintained around service pack release dates.
SQL Server 2005 was one of many obstacles that Microsoft VARs faced in getting their customers' systems in line with the myriad requirements of Windows Vista.
For example, in order to run SQL Server 2005 on Vista, users were required to install SQL Server 2005 SP2, but Microsoft didn't release SQL Server SP2 until February 2007, more than two months after it released Vista to business users.
In the wake of this issue, Microsoft introduced what it calls the Incremental Servicing Model, which calls for the vendor to release cumulative updates and bug fixes to SQL Server customers in regular 8 week intervals. The most recent of these cumulative update packages fixed more than 60 bugs in SQL Server 2005.
Alex Pearson, president and CEO of IS Systems, a San Antonio-based solution provider, expects SP3 to make it easier to bring up new servers and save time on applying all the individual updates.
Pearson says that while SQL 2008 will be "another great enhancement to an already strong product", many organizations are still running SQL Server 2000. "Many people that do upgrade will upgrade to 2005, to give 2008 a chance to further mature," he said.
Microsoft in January pushed the RTM of SQL Server 2008 from the first half of the year to Q3, but formally introduced it along with Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 at a mega-launch event in Los Angeles on Feb. 27.