As you may be aware, Microsoft released SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 back around October of 2011. Even though there has not been an official announcement yet from Microsoft, it seems likely that there will not be a SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 4 release before SQL Server 2008 (and SQL Server 2008 R2) go out of Mainstream support on July 8, 2014.

If you have moved to SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 (which is the only currently supported Service Pack for SQL Server 2008) and are patiently waiting for SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 4, you might want to know that Microsoft has announced that there will be a SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 4, that will be available sometime after July 8, 2014. This final Service Pack will include all of the fixes through SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 Cumulative Update 17 (and nothing else in addition).

Personally, I think most organizations would be much better off by moving to the latest Service Pack 3 Cumulative Update now, or going to Service Pack 4 when it becomes available. In order to try to convince more people that this is the right thing to do, I have put together this list of what I consider to be the more important hotfixes that have been included in each post-SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 Cumulative Update. This list is very Database Engine focused, and completely arbitrary on my part. If you are running SQL Server 2008, you should look at the KB articles for each Cumulative Update (which are linked below), and look for hotfixes that are most relevant to your situation and what SQL Server components that you are using.

Updated to include SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU17. There will not be a SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU18 release, CU17 is the final CU for SQL Server 2008.

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU1 (10.0.5766)  October 17, 2011 (19 public fixes)

FIX: Certain change tracking functions and DMVs do not work correctly after an automatic database mirroring failover occurs in SQL Server 2008 R2 or in SQL Server 2008

 FIX: Recovery takes longer than expected for a database in a SQL Server 2008 or in a SQL Server 2008 R2 environment

FIX: Errors when client application sends an attention signal to SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2

FIX: Size of a data file that is committed by online page compression is larger than that is committed by offline page compression in SQL Server 2008 or in SQL Server 2008 R2 

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU2 (10.0.5768)  November 21, 2011 (2 public fixes)

FIX: Access violation when you insert a record into a new empty partition in SQL Server 2008

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU3 (10.0.5770)  January 16, 2012 (14 public fixes)

FIX: Access violation when you run a DBCC CHECKDB command against a database that contains a table that has a spatial index in SQL Server 2008 or in SQL Server 2008 R2

FIX: Access violation when a query is compiled or recompiled in SQL Server 2008 or in SQL Server 2008 R2

FIX: It takes a long time to restore a database in SQL Server 2008 R2

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU4 (10.0.5775)  March 19, 2012 (10 public fixes)

FIX: “A time-out occurred while waiting for buffer latch” error when many transactions concurrently update a database in SQL Server 2008 R2 or in SQL Server 2008 if the database uses the snapshot isolation level

FIX: Transaction log backup is created even though the full backup is canceled in SQL Server 2008 or in SQL Server 2008 R2

FIX: ghost_record_count values keep increasing in SQL Server 2008 R2 or in SQL Server 2008

Improvements for the DBCC CHECKDB command may result in faster performance when you use the PHYSICAL_ONLY option

FIX: Backup operation fails on a SQL Server 2008 database after you enable change tracking

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU5 (10.0.5785) May 21, 2012 (4 public hotfixes)

FIX: Slow performance when you restore a database in SQL Server 2008 R2 or in SQL Server 2008 if CDC is enabled

FIX: SQL Server Agent job randomly stops when you schedule the job to run past midnight on specific days in SQL Server 2005, in SQL Server 2008 or in SQL Server 2008 R2

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU6 (10.0.5788)  July 16, 2012 (14 public hotfixes)

FIX: Errors when a client application sends an attention signal to SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2

FIX: A database page is copied into a database snapshot even though the page is not updated when you perform a read operation in SQL Server 2008 or in SQL Server 2008 R2

FIX: SQL Server 2008 R2 or SQL Server 2008 stops responding and a “Non-yielding Scheduler” error is logged

FIX: Incorrect results are returned when you run a query that uses parallelism in the query execution plan in SQL Server 2008

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU7 (10.0.5794)  September 17, 2012 (11 public hotfixes)

FIX: “out of memory” error when you use ODBC with SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2008

FIX: Error is logged when you start SQL Server 2008 or when a client sends a request to the program

FIX: High CPU usage when you execute an UPDATE statement that includes a “WHERE CURRENT OF <cursor>” clause in SQL Server 2008

FIX: Access violation or incorrect result when you insert data into or update a new partition of a partitioned table in SQL Server 2008 R2 or SQL Server 2008

FIX: SQL Server Agent job fails if you set the job schedule type as “Start automatically when SQL Server Agent starts” in SQL Server 2008 SP2, SQL Server 2008 SP3 or SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2

FIX: Poor performance when you run a query that contains correlated AND predicates in SQL Server 2008 or in SQL Server 2008 R2 or in SQL Server 2012 

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU8 (10.0.5828)  November 19, 2012 (9 public hotfixes)

FIX: Incorrect result is returned when you query an indexed view by using the NOEXPAND hint in SQL Server 2008

Support for the varchar(max), nvarchar(max), and varbinary(max) data types is added in most OLE DB Providers in SQL Server 2008

FIX: “Non-yielding Scheduler” error message when you insert a record that contains large object (LOB) data into a snapshot database in SQL Server 2008

FIX: Memory leak if you enable the AUTO_UPDATE_STATISTICS_ASYNC statistics option in SQL Server 2008

A database transaction log continues to grow after you upgrade to SQL Server 2008 SP2 or SQL Server 2008 SP3

FIX: Large queries that modify data run slower than expected when many locks accumulate in a SQL Server 2008 R2 

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU9 (10.0.5829)  January 21, 2013 (3 public hotfixes)

FIX: Installation or upgrade process fails when you install or upgrade a SQL Server 2008 clustered instance on mount points

FIX: Access violation when you run a query that contains many constant values in an IN clause in SQL Server 2008

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU10 (10.0.5835)  March 19, 2013 (8 public hotfixes)

FIX: Access violation or incorrect result when you insert data into or update a new partition of a partitioned table in SQL Server 2008 R2 or SQL Server 2008

FIX: Poor performance when table-valued functions use many table variables in SQL Server 2008 R2 or SQL Server 2008

FIX: Access violation when you run DML statements against a table that has partitioned indexes in SQL Server 2008 R2, in SQL Server 2008 or in SQL Server 2012

FIX: Data corruption occurs when LOB data is loaded into a Transact-SQL variable in SQL Server 2008 R2 or in SQL Server 2008

FIX: Index size increases significantly after you rebuild the index online and RCSI is enabled in SQL Server 2008

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU11 (10.0.5841)  May 20, 2013 (6 public hotfixes)

FIX: “Access is denied. [0x80070005]” error message occurs in SSCM when you try to change the password of an account of SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2 in Windows Vista or in a later version of Windows

FIX: SQL Server may freeze when an instance of SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2 is shut down

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU12 (10.0.5844)  July 15, 2013 (6 public hotfixes)

FIX: A query that runs against a DMV enters an infinite loop in SQL Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2012

FIX: SQL Server performance issues in NUMA environments

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU13 (10.0.5846)  September 16, 2013 (2 public hotfixes)

FIX: Nonclustered index corruption may occur when you run a complex UPDATE statement together with a NOLOCK hint against a table in SQL Server 2008

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU14 (10.0.5848)  November 18, 2013 (6 public hotfixes)

FIX: You receive an incorrect result when you run a query that uses some ranking functions in SQL Server 2008

FIX: Query that you run against a partitioned table returns incorrect results in SQL Server 2008

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU15 (10.0.5850)  January 20, 2014 (3 public hotfixes)

FIX: “Installer terminated prematurely” error when you install SQL Server 2008 SP3

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU16 (10.0.5852)  March 17, 2014 (2 public hotfixes)

FIX: Operating system version information that is returned from SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2 or SQL Server 2012 is incorrect in Windows 8.1

 

SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU17 (10.0.5861) May 19, 2014 (9 public hotfixes)

FIX: Performance problems occur when database lock activity increases in SQL Server

FIX: Incorrect results when you execute a full-text search with a phrase that contains a hyphen in SQL Server 2008

FIX: Cannot reclaim free up space by using shrink operation in the table that contains a LOB column in SQL Server 2008