Microsoft Changing Their Lifecycle Support Policy

Microsoft’s Bob Ward has a new post up on the CSS SQL Server Engineers blog about a change in their lifecycle support policy for unsupported service packs of products that are still in mainstream support. Previously, Product Support could not help you in this situation unless you had purchased a support agreement. Now, they will take your call, and give you limited troubleshooting support.

Many people may see this as a good thing, since they will be able to get some limited help from Microsoft if they are running on an unsupported service pack, but I actually think it is a bad thing overall.  I am afraid that it will make it easier for individual DBAs and companies to avoid upgrading to a current service pack even longer than they otherwise would. Many DBAs (and companies) are overly cautious in my opinion when it comes to moving to the current service pack for whatever version of SQL Server they are running. Having to support additional, older service packs places more of a load on Microsoft’s support organization, and it makes the job of an ISV that uses SQL Server more difficult, since they have to test and provide support for these additional, older service packs. Quite often, people run into issues that have been improved or fixed in newer builds of SQL Server, if only they had made the effort to stay more current. I am probably overly critical (perhaps from my time in the Marines), but when I see someone running an “ancient” build of SQL Server, I start to wonder about what else may be going on with their environment.

Of course I know that many DBAs may not have a choice about staying current on their SQL Server service packs (and cumulative updates). It could be that their organization has rigid policies and/or a massive bureaucracy that prevents them from installing newer SQL Server builds. Or it could be that they just don’t know any better, or don’t care about having a supported service pack installed. Here is the current list of SQL Server 2008 post-SP1 builds, while here is the current list of SQL Server 2005 post-SP3 builds. Remember, only SQL Server 2005 SP3 and SQL Server 2008 SP1 are supported service packs right now. Since SQL Server 2005 SP3 CU8 was released on February 15, 2010, we are probably due for CU9 later this week or early next week. I will do my usual blog post when it is released.

This entry was posted in Microsoft. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Microsoft Changing Their Lifecycle Support Policy

  1. Matt says:

    "…and it makes the job of an ISV that uses SQL Server more difficult, since they have to test and provide support for these additional, older service packs."My experience has been the opposite – it\’s the ISVs who most often have prevented me from moving forward with patches or version upgrades, because they *only* support the older versions. The position I just left had one large instance still running 2005 SP2 because three of the ISVs responsible for data residing there wouldn\’t support SP3, much less 2008.Obviously, my experience may be abnormal – but from my point of view, I\’m inclined to hold ISVs responsible for holding back version currency rather than being victims of customers falling behind.

  2. Glenn says:

    I have seen it both ways, but you are right to bring up the point about slow and backward ISVs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s