Volume 4, Number 14 -- April 11, 2007

Microsoft Changes How It Issues SQL Server Fixes

Published: April 11, 2007

by Alex Woodie

Microsoft last week introduced a new way for SQL Server users to get critical updates for their databases when problems arise. Called the Incremental Servicing Model, Microsoft says it's designed to ensure that high quality fixes are delivered within an acceptable amount of time and on a predictable schedule.

The Incremental Servicing Model includes two ways that customers can get fixes. The first is called an On-Demand Hotfix, and this method is used for the most dire database problems that are impacting customers' applications and can't be addressed with work-arounds. On-Demand Hotfixes will be delivered as quickly as possible, by a date that the customer and Microsoft both agree to.

The second part of Incremental Servicing Model involves cumulative updates. These fixes will be delivered every two months, and will include all On-Demand Hotfixes that have been released leading up to the delivery of the cumulative update, as well as fixes created for less critical problems that don't meet the urgency requirements of the On-Demand Hotfixes. It is expected that more time and testing will be put into the cumulative updates to insure compatibility.

Microsoft says the Incremental Servicing Model is available to all SQL Server users, regardless of their support agreement. This should be good news for smaller SQL Server shops that don't have multi-year maintenance contracts.

The Incremental Servicing Model replaces the previous "priority driven" hotfix release model, and ensures that hotfixes will be delivered on a scheduled basis. The new two-month hotfix schedule should also help SQL Server shops plan their upgrades and help them avoid taking their servers offline.

The changes were made in response to customer feedback, Microsoft says. For more information, visit

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Editor: Alex Woodie
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik,
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