As of April 16, 2019, there has been three Cumulative Updates (CU) for the Service Pack 3 branch of SQL Server 2014. There were a relatively large number of hotfixes in this first cumulative update. If you are running on the SQL Server 2014 SP3 branch, I really think you should be running the latest SQL Server 2014 SP3 Cumulative Update.
Table 1 shows the SQL Server 2014 SP3 CU builds that have been released so far.
|12.0.6205||SP3 CU1||December 12, 2018|
|12.0.6214||SP3 CU2||February 19, 2019|
|12.0.6259||SP3 CU3||April 16, 2019|
Table 1: SQL Server 2014 SP3 CU Builds
You can follow the KB article link below to see all of the CU builds for the SQL Server 2014 RTM, SQL Server 2014 SP1, SQL Server 2014 SP2, and SQL Server 2014 SP3 branches.
Like I have done for other versions and branches of SQL Server, I decided to scan the hotfix list for all of the Cumulative Updates in the SP3 branch, looking for performance and general reliability-related fixes for the SQL Server Database Engine. I came up with the list below, but this listing is completely arbitrary on my part. You may come up with a completely different list, based on what specific SQL Server 2014 features you are using.
Here are the fixes in the SP3 branch:
SQL Server 2014 SP3 Cumulative Update 1 (Build 12.0.6205), 13 total public hot fixes
SQL Server 2014 SP3 Cumulative Update 2 (Build 12.0.6214), 5 total public hot fixes
SQL Server 2014 SP3 Cumulative Update 3 (Build 12.0.6259), 4 total public hot fixes
The reason that I put these lists together is that I want to convince more people to try to keep their SQL Server instances up to date with Cumulative Updates. If you do the proper testing, planning and preparation, I think the risks from installing a SQL Server Cumulative Update are quite low (despite the occasional issues that people run into).
If you install a Cumulative Update or Service Pack on a Production system the day it is released, after doing no testing whatsoever, and then run into problems (and don’t have a plan on how to recover), then I don’t have that much sympathy for you.
On the other hand, if you go through a thoughtful and thorough testing process, and you have a plan for how you will install the CU, and how you would recover if there were any problems, then you are much less likely to have any problems. You are also much more likely to avoid the issues that are fixed by all of the included fixes in the new build of SQL Server. You have done your job as a good DBA.
Finally, Microsoft has changed their official guidance about whether you should install SQL Server Cumulative Updates. As they say, “we now recommend ongoing, proactive installation of CU’s as they become available”.