Final Service Packs for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2

As we get ever closer to the end of mainstream support for both SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 on July 8, 2014, I am very curious whether Microsoft is planning on releasing a SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 3 or a SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 4 ?

SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 was released on October 25, 2011 , and we are now up to SQL Server 2008 SP3 CU15. SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 2 was released on July 26, 2012, and we are now up to SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 CU10.

I am not looking for release dates, just some word on whether there will be new Service Packs for SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2 before they both fall out of mainstream support this July.  Since many organizations still refuse to install Cumulative Updates, we have the very strong possibility of many customers running some very old builds of SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 going forward unless we get a final set of Service Packs for both versions.

As Paul Randal discovered in his recent survey, a very large percentage of SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 instances in the wild are already running on “unsupported service packs”, and this situation only got worse when SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 fell out of support on October 8, 2013. These links show the builds that have been released since the most recent Service Packs for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2.

The SQL Server 2008 Builds that were released after SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 was released

The SQL Server 2008 R2 Builds that were released after SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 2 was released

If you want to try to influence Microsoft in some small way, please take a moment to up vote these Connect items. It only will take a few seconds to click the green arrow!

This is mine, meant to be a generic item:

https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/feedback/details/814658/release-final-service-packs-for-sql-server-2008-and-2008-r2

This one is from Christoph Muthmann, for SQL Server 2008 SP3:

https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/feedback/details/814600/release-service-pack-3-for-sql-server-2008-r2

This one is from Erland Sommarskog, regarding SQL Server 2012 SP2:

https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/feedback/details/814656/release-service-pack-2-for-sql-server-2012

If you have a bit more time, write a comment in any of the Connect items.

Escape the Winter and Learn About SQL Server Hardware in Tampa

On February 6-7, 2014, I will be teaching IEHW: Immersion Event on SQL Server Hardware in Tampa, FL. This is a great opportunity for you to learn how to properly select and configure your server hardware and storage subsystem to get the best performance and scalability for the lowest SQL Server licensing costs. It is also a good opportunity to escape the cold weather that has been gripping much of the United States for the past few weeks!

This two-day SQL Server hardware training class explains the core fundamentals and deeper details of database server hardware and storage subsystems for SQL Server database professionals. Many database professionals are unfamiliar with the details and nuances of modern server hardware and storage subsystems, while many server and storage administrators are unfamiliar with the specific workload demands of a SQL Server database server.

Attendees of this class will learn how to analyze, select, and size their server hardware and storage subsystems for different types of SQL Server workloads in order to get the best performance and scalability while minimizing their SQL Server license costs.

This class also covers how to properly configure and benchmark your database server hardware and storage subsystems, along with how to properly install and configure the operating system and SQL Server for the best performance and reliability. The class will show you how to diagnose and troubleshoot hardware and storage related performance issues, and will include coverage of how virtualization interacts with your database server hardware and storage subsystem. Note: the primary audience for this class is SQL Server database professionals, not general system/server admins who are already familiar with server/storage hardware.

I think it is very important for database administrators to know as much as possible about the critical details of their server hardware and storage subsystem, rather than trusting their fate to “Shon the server guy”, who may or may not know that much about modern server hardware (maybe he is a networking specialist). Even if Shon is very knowledgeable about hardware, he may not understand the different demands that SQL Server will create with different types of workloads. I want you to be able to successfully make the case for selecting the best hardware and storage subsystem components for your workload and budget.  You can read more about the registration details here.

Special Pricing Options and Referrals

  • Past attendee price: If you’ve attended an Immersion Event in the past, you can register any time for 75% of the full price ($1,099). Please contact us for instructions.
  • Refer someone: If you know someone who would benefit from this class, refer them to us and when they register, we’ll give you a $50 Amazon gift card. They or you just need to let us know you’re referring them, and when they register, we’ll match them to your referral and send you the gift card.

One Intel Processor Family to Avoid For SQL Server 2012/2014

On January 9, Intel launched the 22nm Intel Xeon E5-2400 v2 Product Family (Ivy Bridge-EN) of processors for two-socket servers. For SQL Server usage, this is not a good processor family to choose for a new server.

While these processors are a nice improvement over the older 32nm Intel Xeon E5-2400 Product Family (Sandy Bridge-EN) of processors, they are still a particularly poor choice for SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2014, when compared to a 22nm Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 Product Family (Ivy Bridge-EP) processor with the same physical core count.

The reason for this is that Microsoft simply charges for physical core licenses with SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2014 (in non-virtualized servers). The performance characteristics of the processor do not matter at all to Microsoft (for licensing purposes). Given this fact, it does not make any sense to pick a lower performance processor with the same number of physical cores, at least from a performance or scalability perspective. From a strict economic perspective, a lower performance processor (with the same core count) will cost a little bit less money, and it is likely to use less electrical power and require less heat dissipation in your data center. These cost savings are pretty small compared to the cost of SQL Server core licenses, and you are giving up a lot of performance to save a relatively small amount of money.

If you compare the best models from the the entry-level E5-2400 v2 line to the best models from the E5-2600 v2 line, you will notice significantly higher base and turbo clock speeds, along with larger L3 cache sizes from the higher-end E5-2600 v2 line. You will also see higher QPI bandwidth, higher memory speed support and twice the memory capacity with the E5-2600 v2 line. The E5-2407 v2 processor does not have Turbo Boost or Hyper-Threading, which helps explain its very low price for a server-level processor.

ProcessorCoresBase SpeedTurbo SpeedL3 CacheQPIPrice
E5-2407 v242.4GHz2.4GHz10MB6.4GT/s$250.00
E5-2430 v262.5Ghz3.0GHz15MB7.2GT/s$551.00
E5-2450 v282.5GHz3.3GHz20MB8.0GT/s$1,107.00
E5-2470 v2102.4GHz3.2GHz25MB8.0GT/s$1,440.00

Table 1: Intel Xeon E5-2400 v2 Product Family Specifications

 

ProcessorCoresBase SpeedTurbo SpeedL3 CacheQPIPrice
E5-2637 v243.5GHz3.8GHz15MB8.0GT/s$996.00
E5-2643 v263.5GHz3.8GHz25MB8.0GT/s$1,552.00
E5-2667 v283.3GHz4.0GHz25MB8.0GT/s$2,057.00
E5-2690 v2103.0GHz3.6GHz25MB8.0GT/s$2,057.00
E5-2697 v2122.7GHz3.5GHz30MB8.0GT/s$2,618.00

Table 2: Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 Product Family Specifications

Just to be clear, you won’t see these processors being offered in the same model servers. For example, the Dell PowerEdge R320, R420, and R520 servers will have the Xeon E5-2400 (Sandy Bridge-EN) or Xeon E5-2400 v2 (Ivy Bridge-EN) processors (which you don’t want for SQL Server usage). The Dell PowerEdge R620, R720 and R720xd servers will have the Xeon E5-2600 (Sandy Bridge-EP) or Xeon E5-2600 v2 (Ivy Bridge-EP) processors (which you do want for SQL Server usage).

As a final observation, the major server vendors are still offering the older 32nm Sandy Bridge along with the newer 22nm Ivy Bridge processors in most of their servers. In the cases I have seen, there is no discount for the older, slower, more power hungry Sandy Bridge processors, so there is really no good reason to choose one of the older Sandy Bridge processors.