As of July 29, 2019, there have been four Cumulative Updates (CU) for the Service Pack 3 branch of SQL Server 2014. There were a relatively large number of hotfixes in this last cumulative update. SP3 CU4 is the final Cumulative Update for SQL Server 2014 SP3, since SQL Server 2014 fell out of Mainstream Support on July 9, 2019.
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.
||December 12, 2018
||February 19, 2019
||April 16, 2019
||July 29, 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.
SQL Server 2014 Build Versions
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
FIX: Change Tracking cleanup message 22123 is unexpectedly recorded in the error log file in SQL Server
FIX: Incorrect results occur when you convert “pollinginterval” parameter from seconds to hours in sys.sp_cdc_scan in SQL Server
FIX: Access violation when you run a query that uses the XML data type in SQL Server 2014
FIX: Overestimations when using default Cardinality Estimator to query table with many null values
FIX: Access violation for query that uses INSERT INTO … SELECT to insert data into clustered columnstore index
FIX: “ran out of memory” error when executing a query on a table that has a large full-text index in SQL Server 2014 and 2016
FIX: I/O errors on a BPE file causes buffer time out in SQL Server
FIX: Assertion error occurs during restore of compressed backups in SQL Server 2016
FIX: Internal error messages when you update a FILESTREAM tombstone system table in SQL Server
FIX: ObjectPropertyEx does not return correct row count when there are partitions in a database object
FIX: SQL Server service crashes when DBCC CHECKDB runs against a database that has a corrupted partition in SQL Server
SQL Server 2014 SP3 Cumulative Update 2 (Build 12.0.6214), 5 total public hot fixes
FIX: High CPU use when large index is used in a query on a memory-optimized table in SQL Server
FIX: “Non-yielding” error occurs when there is a heavy use of prepared statements in SQL Server 2014 and 2016
FIX: Assertion occurs when a parallel query deletes from a Filestream table
SQL Server 2014 SP3 Cumulative Update 3 (Build 12.0.6259), 4 total public hot fixes
FIX: Query plans are different on clone database created by DBCC CLONEDATABASE and its original database in SQL Server 2016 and 2017
FIX: Columnstore filter pushdown may return wrong results when there is an overflow in filter expressions in SQL Server 2014
FIX: Log reader agent may fail after AG failover with TF 1448 enabled in SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2014 SP3 Cumulative Update 4 (Build 12.0.6329), 19 total public hot fixes
FIX: Access violation occurs and server stops unexpectedly when you use XEvent session with sqlos.wait_info event in SQL Server
FIX: Filtered index may be corrupted when you rebuild index in parallel in SQL Server 2014 and 2016
FIX: Stack Dump occurs in the change tracking cleanup process in SQL Server 2014, 2016 and 2017
FIX: Fail to join the secondary replica if the database has a defunct filegroup in SQL Server 2014, 2016 and 2017
FIX: Columnstore filter pushdown may return wrong results when there is an overflow in filter expressions in SQL Server 2014, 2016 and 2017
FIX: Tlog grows quickly when you run auto cleanup procedure in SQL Server 2014, 2016 and 2017
FIX: SQL Server 2014 and 2016 do not perform the requested pre-row assignments when you use MERGE statement that performs assignments of local variables for each row
FIX: Prolonged non-transactional usage of FileTable without instance restart may cause non-yielding scheduler error or server hang in SQL Server 2014
FIX: Full-text search fails to remove files from \FTDATA\FilterData subfolder in SQL Server 2014
FIX: High CPU usage on Primary when SQL Service on Readable Secondary is turned off in Availability Group in SQL Server 2014
FIX: SQL batch performance drops when you enable “Force Encryption” in SQL Server 2014
FIX: Full text search auto populate stops when Availability Group goes offline in SQL Server 2014
FIX: Error 409 occurs when you back up databases by using BackuptoURL
FIX: Fix prefast warnings (62100) in Sql\Sqlrepl\xpreplclr.net\ReplCmdDataReader.cs to prevent SQL injection attacks
FIX: Syscommittab cleanup causes a lock escalation that will block the syscommittab flush in SQL Server 2014
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”.