SQL Server Management Studio Changes and Servicing

For the SQL Server 2016 release cycle, Microsoft has separated SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) from the rest of the SQL Server 2016 product. This new standalone version of SSMS (which is completely free) is designed to work with SQL Server 2008 through SQL Server 2016. It may also work with SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005, although Microsoft does not officially support that scenario. Finally, it is designed to work with Azure SQL Database.

The setup program for SSMS is not included with the rest of product on the SQL Server 2016 DVD or .iso file. Instead, there is a link that takes you to the Download SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) page where you can download the most current version of the SSMS setup program.

If you are trying to install SSMS on a machine that does not have internet access (which is pretty common), then you will need to download the SSMS setup program in advance, and make it available on the server where you want to install it. The SSMS setup program is typically about 800-900MB in size, so this should not be a huge burden for most people.

If you have internet access on a machine where SSMS is installed, it will periodically check for a newer version and will notify you that there is one via a “toast” popup in your system tray. You can also go to the Tools menu in SSMS, and select “Check for Updates…” to force SSMS to check for any updated components that may be available. The latest SSMS release notes are available from the link below:


SQL Server Management Studio – Release Notes


Microsoft has been pretty reliable about releasing new versions of SSMS every month, which often have many bug fixes and feature improvements. Figure 1 shows an example dialog with details about components that have available updates.



Figure 1: SSMS Updates are Available Example


Figure 2 shows an example dialog where SSMS is up to date.



Figure 2: SSMS Is Up to Date Example


If the machine where SSMS is installed does not have internet connectivity, you will have to be a little more proactive about checking for new versions of SSMS. You can pull up the About dialog for SSMS, as shown in Figure 3, and compare the build number for Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio (in the top row) to the latest available build number shown in the changelog page in the link below, using some other machine that does have internet connectivity.

SQL Server Management Studio – Changelog (SSMS)



Figure 3: About Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Dialog


The Microsoft SQL Server Release Services Blog usually has a new post when a new version of SSMS is released. The latest post is here.


You should also be able to use Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) to check for and obtain SSMS updates, if your organization is using WSUS.



Special Discount Code for PASS Summit and Precon

On Monday, October 24, 2016, I will be doing an all-day, Pre-Conference session on how to interpret my SQL Server diagnostic information queries. I have done many shorter versions of this session (such as 60 minutes, 75 minutes, or even a half-day) before, but I have always felt a little rushed as I went through the complete set of diagnostic queries, explaining how to interpret the results of each one, and also talking about related background information and guidance that is relevant to each query.

Now, I will have a full day to go into much more detail, without having to hurry to cover everything. I will be using the SQL Server 2016 version of the diagnostic queries, which have even more useful information, including information about many new SQL Server 2016 features. If you are on an older version of SQL Server, most of the queries will still be relevant (depending on how old of a version of SQL Server you are using).

Based on past experience and feedback, Dr. DMV has always been a very popular session that people really seem to enjoy. This all-day, expanded version is going to be really fun and useful, and I hope to see you there!

Here is the abstract for the session:

Dr. DMV: How to Use DMVs to Diagnose Performance Problems

SQL Server 2005 introduced Dynamic Management Views (DMVs) that allow you to see exactly what is happening inside your SQL Server instances and databases with much more detail than ever before. SQL Server 2016 adds even more capability in this area. You can discover your top wait types, most CPU intensive stored procedures, find missing indexes, and identify unused indexes, to name just a few examples. This session (which is applicable to SQL 2005-2016), presents and explains over seventy DMV queries that you can quickly and easily use to detect and diagnose performance issues in your environment. If you have ever been responsible for a mission critical database, you have probably been faced with a high stress, emergency situation where a database issue is causing unacceptable application performance, resulting in angry users and hovering managers and executives. If this hasn’t happened to you yet, thank your lucky stars, but start getting prepared for your time in the hot seat. This session will show you how to use DMV queries to quickly detect and diagnose the problem, starting at the server and instance level, and then progressing down to the database and object level. This session will show you how to properly analyze and interpret the results of every single query in the set, along with lots of information on how to properly configure your instance and databases.

I wanted to share a unique discount code: PRE250GB for $250.00 off of a full, three day Summit registration and a pre-conference session. This is a pretty good deal for this late in the process! This code expires at midnight, Thursday, October 13, 2016. You can register here.

The PASS Summit is always a fun and very useful and educational event. It is a great way to get to know more people in the SQL Server community and to connect with people that you may only know online. I am looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Seattle for PASS Summit 2016!