Great to read that Microsoft are now making the “cumulative update” packages ‘recommended’ installs, and the updates themselves will be easier to obtain - no longer requiring a email address to download directly, and also being listed in Windows Update Catalog (and maybe in the future as an optional update on Microsoft Update).
As a developer, I’ve often installed the latest CU (cumulative update) just because I like to be current on my own PC – but I’ve traditionally been more conservative with production SQL Servers that I’ve had to look after over the years. In the latter case I’ve installed the latest service pack, but only added a CU if it seemed likely to address any issue we might be having at the time.
With this change, now pushing out the latest CU can be done with more confidence and probably should be considered part of maintaining your SQL Server infrastructure. Quoting from the above article:
You should plan to install a CU with the same level of confidence you plan to install SPs (Service Packs) as they are released. This is because CU’s are certified and tested to the level of SP’s.
A few years back I remember thinking that the SQL Server team had really set the standard for releasing regular updates for their products (especially compared to the lack of updates at the time to fix problems with older versions of Visual Studio 2005/2008). Since then the VS team have upped their game, and now they are pushing new major servicing updates out around every quarter. That doesn’t include out-of-band updates to VS extensions that are done more frequently.
So it’s great to see the SQL Server team stepping up the pace another notch.