First Service Pack Released for SQL Server 2008
Provides updates but no new features
Microsoft has released SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1, which provides updates to the relational database management system, but no new features. SP1 can be downloaded here.
The arrival of the first service pack traditionally represents a big milestone among software consumers. The common wisdom among skeptical IT pros is that software companies will have fixed most bugs in their applications by the time SP1 arrives. This time, SP1 arrived without the "wow."
However, the low-key aspects of this release are considered to be a virtue. Microsoft claims that SP1 will introduce "80% fewer changes to customer configurations compared to previous SQL Server Service Pack releases." That sounds like good news for IT pros.
SP1 contains Cumulative Updates 1 through 3 all rolled up in the service pack. Microsoft also added some administrative improvements, including a slipsteam facility, a service pack uninstall capability and Report Builder 2.0 Click Once.
Report Builder 2.0, which lets users query the database and create reports using Microsoft Office tools, was actually released in October. Microsoft describes it as an "intuitive, Office-like report authoring environment enabling business and power users to leverage their experience with Microsoft Office 2007 products."
Microsoft's release notes for SQL Server 2008 SP1 indicate that Report Builder 2.0 can also be integrated with SharePoint.
The slipstream facility lets IT administrators bundle up application code and service packs and install them all at once. The service pack uninstall capability has the virtue of allowing the user to "uninstall only the Service Pack (without removing the whole instance)," a Microsoft blog explained.
SP1 can be used to update all editions of SQL Server 2008, including the free SQL Server Express for embedded and small-scale applications. However, you can get a direct download of the latest SQL Server Express installer versions here, with the installation details described in this blog. A DVD containing SQL Server Express can be ordered, but only in North America, according to this blog.
Also released yesterday was this month's Feature Pack for SQL Server 2008. It includes "add-on providers," "backward compatibility components" and "redistributable components" for SQL Server 2008.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.