SQL Server 2008 SP4: Really, That's It This Time

The differences between this release and the SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3 release from last week are distinct enough to warrant separate releases.

As soon as we told you boldly that SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3 was the last update you'd see from Microsoft on this version of the DBMS, the company released SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 4. One might ask, why the two versions?

For a quick historical perspective, you'll have to go back a bit and recall the names "Kilimanjaro" and "Gemini." Kilimanjaro was the code name for the version of SQL Server that would contain a bevy of data warehousing capabilities. The original Microsoft release specifically highlighted Master Data Services, multi-server management capabilities, and scability coming from added support for 64 logical processors. Gemini referred to the development of self service business intelligence features that were also included at some point prior to the R2 release.

I asked Visual Studio Magazine frequent contributor Peter Vogel for some insight and he offered parallels to how Microsoft often maintains discrete development tracks for its operating systems. In this case, the specificity of features for the R2 release meant development had to be maintained separately from plain vanilla SQL Server 2008. "The patches are slightly different for each version of SQL Server so they have to be targeted to a specific version of SQL Server. However, because the different versions share a code base, the patches are similar in nature," he said.

Now that we have that straightened out, here are the basic facts on what's contained in SQL Server 2008 SP4:

  • It's a cumulative update of all the incremental issues and fixes for SQL Server 2008 SP3, with the inclusion of a last round of updates that are detailed" target="_blank">here.
  • There were 17 of them since the original SP3 release back in October 2011, if you're keeping track. They're all listed on a KB support page here.
  • Any updates moving forward will not include functional fixes (so says the blog).
  • There will be no more cumulative updates to these packages, but Microsoft will continue to provide security updates as needed and within the guidelines of its mainstream and extended support policies.

For details and download information on SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3, go here; for SQL Server 2008 SP4, go here.

About the Author

You Tell 'Em, Readers: If you've read this far, know that Michael Domingo, Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief, is here to serve you, dear readers, and wants to get you the information you so richly deserve. What news, content, topics, issues do you want to see covered in Visual Studio Magazine? He's listening at

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