Microsoft Preps SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 3

SQL making a similar announcement

In a Monday blog post, Nosheen Syed, lead program manager in Microsoft's SQL Server Sustained Engineering group, said SQL Server 2005 SP3 will consist of all Cumulative Updates Microsoft has issued for the software, up to and including Cumulative Update 9 from SQL Server 2005 SP2.

SQL Server 2005 caused headaches for early Vista users, because Vista required 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.

Steven Mulka, a partner with SIS, a Duluth, Ga.-based solution provider and Microsoft Gold partner, says SQL Server 2005 SP3 will allow Microsoft to continue providing a steady, high quality experience to users that haven't moved to SQL Server 2008.

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"Microsoft still has to support commercial and custom-built apps that customers have running in production environments until proper testing can be done [on SQL Server 2008]," said Mulka.

Kevin Baylor, principal at Aequus IT, a solution provider in Bradenton, Fla., compares the situation to Microsoft releasing XP SP3 not long after it released Vista SP1.

"They have to extend it because SQL Server 2005 isn't going away anytime soon," said Baylor. "Not only is SQL Server 2005 tried and true, but this is also not a time [economically] when people will be ready to make large software upgrades."

Since SQL Server is such a vital part of many companies' software infrastructure, the old 'If it ain't broke don't fix it' maxim comes into play, according to Gordon Scobel, CEO of Qualitech, a solution provider in Bingham Farms, Mich.

"If you have an application that's running nicely on SQL Server 2005 or 2003, you're hesitant to make any changes unless there's some overwhelming benefit," Scobel said.