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SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 Available

Microsoft on Thursday released Service Pack 3 (SP3) for SQL Server 2008.

The new service pack arrives about one year after the release of Service Pack 2. SP3 contains a lot of fixes to the earlier service pack that were reported via Microsoft's customer feedback systems, including fixes to Cumulative Updates 1 through 4 for SQL Server 2008 SP2. Microsoft lists all of the issues it fixed in SP3 in this support article.

Customer-requested improvements were added to SP3. Microsoft explained in its announcement that the user experience was improved for users upgrading from earlier versions of SQL Server. While that may be the case, IT pros will want to check out Microsoft's release notes for SP3 before performing the upgrade. For instance, there are elaborate installation instructions for those who installed the prerelease version of SQL Server 2008 or Visual Studio 2008.

Other customer improvements described by Microsoft are rather technical. For instance, the logs in SQL Server Integration Services now show "the total number of rows sent in Data Flows." When using the Shrink Database option, users now get "enhanced warning messages when creating the maintenance plan." Microsoft fixed a problem associated with transparent data encryption, making it available even when a certificate is dropped. Query outcomes are now improved after the Database Tuning Advisor references the "indexed Spatial Data Type column."

SQL Server 2008 SP3 can be downloaded here for 32-bit or 64-bit hardware. The update requires Windows Server 2003 or newer versions to run, or it can be installed on machines running Windows Vista or Windows 7. SP3 will update the following SQL Server 2008 editions: Enterprise, Standard, Evaluation, Developer and Workgroup. Those upgrading to SP3 don't need to have SP2 installed beforehand.

SQL Server 2008 SP3 Express, a free edition of Microsoft's database management system, can be downloaded here.

Microsoft also released a Feature Pack for SQL Server 2008 SP3. The Feature Pack, available here, contains enhancements that can be added via individual installation packages.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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