More SQL Server Updates

This was a busy week for updates. I finished adding new builds to the build lists for 20172016, and 2014, the first time I’ve done all three platforms on the same day. To be fair, two updates were on the 19th and one on the 20th, but that’s pretty close to the same day. In the past I’ve had updates for different versions during different months.

That will not be the case in the future. SQL Server 2017 is on the CU model where we get monthly updates to the product. No more service packs for this version. If you hadn’t heard that, be ready for the new servicing model that consists of just the monthly updates. I wasn’t sure if I liked this at first, but I do appreciate that we don’t get confused with trying to determine which CU1 is needed as there were different patches for RTM, SP1, SP2, etc. Now I’ve gotten used to expecting an update each month and applying them after a few days. So far, Microsoft has mostly been sticking to monthly releases, though the December release got delayed into January. With holidays, that’s expected.

This week also saw the update of SSMS to v 17.6. You can freely use this version and download the full install or just the update package if you are running 17.x. We are seeing updates on a fairly regular basis to the tool, every couple of months. I’m hoping we continue to see more fixes and improvements aside from new functionality as SSMS has been neglected for too long. I don’t know how stable this version is, but 17.4 was on my machines for a long time without an ill effects, and I think this seems fine for now.

Updates have always been a part of software, but often they are fairly rare, with interruptions occurring just a few times a year. That’s changing. Redgate releases software every week, with almost every product updating once or twice a month. For someone that uses relatively few pieces of software, all of a sudden it seems like I have a regular set of tools to update across my SQL Server development platform between SQL Server, SSMS, VS, Redgate tools and more.

That’s good, as I get fixes and increased functionality, but across a set of tools, I might find myself updating something every day. While the software often updates itself if I click OK, I have to make a decision and the process is disruptive and time consuming, especially when I run into required updates, which happens more than I’d like. I like the idea of DevOps, but one of the unintended consequences is that if everyone does it, there are a lot of changes and updates for users to deal with.

I don’t have a solution, but I do find myself delaying updates more and more, often moving to only take every 3 or 4 updates. Maybe if everyone had an easy way to apply patches with PoSh across systems, or smoother built-in mechanisms I’d feel differently, but for now I probably click “skip” more often than “apply”.

Steve Jones

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