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Microsoft Releases SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 4

Microsoft today announced that the final service pack for SQL Server 2012 is now available for download.

The latest official release for the half-decade-old version of Microsoft's database management system includes a rollup of all hotfixes released over the years and focuses on scalability and performance improvements, especially on newer hardware. "This release of SQL 2012 Service Pack has 20+ improvements centered around performance, scalability and diagnostics based on feedback from customers and the SQL Server community," wrote Microsoft in a blog post. "These improvements enable SQL Server 2012 to perform faster and scale out of the box on modern hardware design."

On the scalability and performance front, Microsoft has added support for dynamic memory object scaling, which will partition memory objects on available nodes and cores to avoid bottlenecking. Buffer pool usage has also been increased from the maximum 8TB to 128TB. Improvements to change tracking and distribution agent cleanup were also made to avoid deadlock scenarios.

The final service pack also includes:

  • Enhancements to dynamic management views (DMV), extended events, and query plans to provide additional monitoring capabilities.
  • Consistency check performance improvements.
  • Increased diagnostic tools in showplan XML.
  • Resource Governor query hints, which Microsoft said will provide increased granular control.
  • Performance improvements when accessing XEL files in the XEvent Linq reader.
  • Database cloning, which will copy the schema and metadata (without the actual data) for troubleshooting.
  • Spatial queries performance improvements.

SQL Server 2012 SP4 can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center and will be arriving soon for Visual Studio subscribers.

With this final official release, Microsoft will no longer provide feature updates for SQL Server 2012, which left mainstream support in July. While the Microsoft SQL Server Engineering team confirmed that no cumulative updates for Service Pack 4 will be released, hotfixes for bugs will continue as needed. SQL Server 2012 customers can receive an additional six years of custom support through Microsoft's Premium Assurance program.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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