Microsoft has announced that SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 is now available via free download to current SQL Server 2008 customers. According to the company, SP1 for SQL Server 2008 is primarily a roll-up of previous cumulative updates and offers increased supportability and stability. Microsoft is encouraging enterprise customers who are currently running SQL Server 2008 to download SP1 via the SQL Server 2008 Web site to take advantage of these improvements.
SP1 for SQL Server 2008 is a small service pack compared to prior releases, according to Fausto Ibarra, director of product management for SQL Server at Microsoft, who observes that this can be attributed to revised development processes which allowed more opportunities for community testing of the 2008 release. There were multiple CTPs for SQL Server 2008 which were adopted by customers all over the world in all types of scenarios, prior to the RTM in August.
SQL Server SP1 is intended to ease deployment and help make the management of service packs more efficient. There are no new features included in SP1, however key improvements include Slipstream, Service Pack Uninstall and Report Builder 2.0. According to Microsoft, Slipstream allows administrators to install SQL Server 2008 and Service Pack1 in a single instance, decreasing the total time for an installation, including fewer reboots, thereby increasing productivity and deployment availability. Service Pack Uninstall allows administrators to uninstall the service pack separately from the database release. This feature also improves DBA productivity, reduces the cost of deployment and improves overall supportability. And, Report Builder 2.0 Click Once improves the existing SQL Server end-user report authoring application by easing deployment to business users.
With over 3 million downloads of SQL Server 2008 since the RTM, there are also customers waiting for the first service pack before deployment. The release of SP1 for SQL Server 2008 will accelerate adoption, but Microsoft is finding that the percentage of customers sitting on the sidelines waiting for the first service pack is smaller than with previous releases, according to Ibarra. SQL Server 2008 is a "very high quality" release and with SP1, it gets "incrementally better," says Ibarra. To download SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1, go here.