SQL Server 2008 sp1 has now been released.  For some this will mean access to the three key features of the release:

  • Slipstream allows administrators to install SQL Server 2008 and Service Pack 1 in a single instance. This decreases the total time for an installation, including a fewer number of 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.
  • Report Builder 2.0 Click Once improves the existing SQL Server end-user report authoring application by easing deployment to business users.
  • Not a lot else, just minor tweaks and fixes rolled up form the previous cumulative updates.

For many others the release of sp1 signifies that SQL Server 2008 is now stable enough for them to begin to deploy in their organisation.  I have always found this approach to releases somewhat flawed as any patch fix service pack or release can have flaws in it, and surely you would expect that a major product release would be more thoroughly tested than a service pack.  In this case both SQL Server 2008 and sp1 had an extensive testing cycle internally on Microsoft’s 5,000+ database servers and externally via very wide community technology previews (CTPs). 

Given that there have been over 3 million downloads of SQL Server 2008 since it was released a better litmus test of its reliability is simply the buzz on the forums (e.g. the UK SQL Server community), because if it was flawed in some way the community would not be shy in saying so!

The really sensible thing to do is to form your own opinion and you can start doing that by downloading an evaluation copy  or the full version from your TechNet subscription.