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When to Upgrade to SQL Server 2008

When to Upgrade to SQL Server 2008

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Among the interesting stuff discussed at last nights SQL community meeting at the Microsoft Campus,was a lively debate on whether to wait for SQL Server 2008 sp1.  The traditional view has been to wait until sp1 because that is the stable release.  One wit in the audience suggested that SQL Server 2008 was really SQL Server 2005 sp4 and therefore everyone should go right ahead.  While SQL Server 2008 is actually a lot more than a service pack, it is not the major rework that SQL Server 2005 was. 

David Portas an MVP working for Conchango pointed out how stable it was and he should know he’s been using it for year.  He went on to pint out that maybe an sp1 would not be that well tested and would you really deploy that version the day it came out? 

My own take on this is that there probably won’t be a service pack for a long time if at all. SQL Server 2008 is very stable and don’t take my word for it  because if it wasn’t the stories would be all over the web (the Register, ZDNet, slashdot etc).  So your decision on when to upgrade should not be influenced by that and reasons to upgrade should instead depend on what you are doing with SQL Server:

  • You want to move off of SQL Server 2000 perhaps because are concerned about support
  • You have SQL Server 2000 and want to go 64 bit so you can address more memory
  • You want to use one of the new data types in your application, like spatial or filestream.
  • You want to better manage a large estate of SQL Servers and consolidate them.  

If your interested in SQL Server 2008, you might want to download the product from your TechNet subscription and at least install the client on your local machine so you can see how it looks.

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