As of August 8, 2017, there have been ten Cumulative Updates (CU) for the Service Pack 3 branch of SQL Server 2012. There have been a fairly high number of hotfixes in every one of these Cumulative Updates, as more people are using SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 3. If you are running SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 3, I really think you should be running the latest SQL Server 2012 Cumulative Update.

Table 1 shows the SQL Server 2012 SP3 CU builds that have been released so far.

BuildDescriptionRelease Date
11.0.6290SP3 RTMNovember 22, 2015
11.0.6518SP3 CU1January 18, 2016
11.0.6523SP3 CU2March 21, 2016
11.0.6537SP3 CU3May 16, 2016
11.0.6540SP3 CU4July 18, 2016
11.0.6544SP3 CU5September 20, 2016
11.0.6567SP3 CU6November 16, 2016
11.0.6579SP3 CU7January 17, 2017
11.0.6594SP3 CU8March 20, 2017
11.0.6598SP3 CU9May 15, 2017
11.0.6607SP3 CU10August 8, 2017
   

Table 1: SQL Server 2012 SP3 CU Builds

 

You can follow the KB article link below to see all of the CU builds for the SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 3 branch.

SQL Server 2012 SP3 Build Versions

Like I did for the SQL Server 2012 SP2 branch, 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 2012 features you are using.

Here are the fixes in the Service Pack 3 branch:

SQL Server 2012 SP3 Cumulative Update 1 (Build 11.0.6518), 8 total public hot fixes

FIX: You cannot use the Transport Layer Security protocol version 1.2 to connect to a server that is running SQL Server 2014 or SQL Server 2012

FIX: SQL Server may crash when a request for execution of a remote stored procedure contains incomplete definition of arguments

FIX: You receive error messages when you run a query that uses tempdb in SQL Server

An update to enable the “-k” startup parameter to control the rate that work files can spill to tempdb is available for SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 3

FIX: The CHANGETABLE function in a query returns incorrect results when Change Tracking is enabled for a SQL Server database

 

SQL Server 2012 SP3 Cumulative Update 2 (Build 11.0.6523), 20 total public hot fixes

FIX: Slow performance when you query numeric data types from an Oracle database

FIX: Access violation when you execute a stored procedure that uses a cursor on a table variable in SQL Server

FIX: An assertion failure occurs on the secondary replica when you use the AlwaysOn Availability Groups feature in SQL Server 2012

FIX: Numeric overflow when you run a query that spills more than 65,535 extents to tempdb in SQL Server 2014 or 2012

FIX: Column data is deleted when you update another column in a table in SQL Server 2012

FIX: SMK initialization fails on one node of a SQL Server 2012 failover cluster

FIX: SQL Server stops responding when you back up the certificate that is used to encrypt the database encryption key in SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2014

FIX: XA transactions aren’t cleaned when you exit a Java application in an instance of SQL Server

FIX: Error occurs when you try to drop or delete filegroups or partition schemes and functions in SQL Server

FIX: The Log Reader Agent stops intermittently and an Access Violation occurs in SQL Server 2012

FIX: Error when you use the replication feature in SQL Server 2014 or SQL Server 2012

FIX: Access violation and the program restarts when you change an extended events session in SQL Server 2014 or 2012

 

SQL Server 2012 SP3 Cumulative Update 3 (Build 11.0.6537), 23 total public hot fixes

FIX: You do not have the permissions to execute the system sp_readerrorlog stored procedure in SQL Server 2012

FIX: Filestream directory is not visible after an AlwaysOn replica is restarted in SQL Server 2012

FIX: Cannot alter column because it is enabled for Replication or Change Data Capture error occurs after a database is restored to a SQL Server that does not support change data capture

FIX: Error 1478 when you add a database back to the AlwaysOn availability group in SQL Server 2012

FIX: “Cannot resolve the collation conflict” error when you apply a snapshot to the subscriber database in SQL Server

FIX: “A severe error occurred on the current command” when a Table-Valued User-Defined function is referred to by a synonym

FIX: Creating a database on a system that has a large amount of memory installed takes longer

FIX: “Non-yielding Scheduler” error when versioning cleanup task runs on a SQL Server AlwaysOn secondary replica

FIX: FileTables in an AlwaysOn availability group become unavailable after failover in an instance of SQL Server 2014 or 2012

FIX: sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats missing information after index rebuild on SQL Server 2012

FIX: Memory corruption causes an access violation in an instance of SQL Server 2014 or 2012

 

SQL Server 2012 SP3 Cumulative Update 4 (Build 11.0.6540), 19 total public hot fixes

FIX: SQL Server crashes when you run a remote query in a stored procedure by using an invalid user name

FIX: Storage device overhead when you back up data or log files to a network share in SQL Server 2014 or 2012

FIX: Memory leak on the AlwaysOn secondary replica when change tracking is enabled in SQL Server

Transaction log backup failure on the secondary replica prevents subsequent backups on Availability Replicas in SQL Server 2012

FIX: SQL Server 2012 failover cluster diagnostic log does not accurately reflect the failure_condition_level setting

FIX: DBCC CHECKDB doesn’t report metadata inconsistency of invalid filegroups in its summary in SQL Server 2014 and SQL Server 2012

 

SQL Server 2012 SP3 Cumulative Update 5 (Build 11.0.6544), 20 total public hot fixes

FIX: Assertion failures occur when you query the database-state information in SQL Server 2012

CPU usage increases significantly when you execute queries that contain CHANGETABLE functions in SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 3

FIX: Queries that run against secondary databases always get recompiled in SQL Server

SQL Server crashes because of an access violation error that occurs while it reads data from an event file target

SQL Server 2014 or 2012 doesn’t start after you configure the tempdb database to use a very small log file

Unexpected growth of tempdb data files when using SQL Server Service Broker

“The log backup chain is broken” error when the log backup process fails in SQL Server

Operating system error 32 when you restore a database in SQL Server 2014 or 2016

 

SQL Server 2012 SP3 Cumulative Update 6 (Build 11.0.6567), 11 total public hot fixes

FIX: DBCC CHECKFILEGROUP reports false inconsistency error 5283 on a database that contains a partitioned table in SQL Server

Calculation using two measure time values in iterations returns negative values in SQL Server 2012, 2014, or 2016

FIX: TDE encrypted Databases go in suspect state during the recovery phase when you restart SQL Server 2012

FIX: Automatic failover doesn’t occur after database mirroring stops unexpectedly

FIX: Incorrect full-text keys are recorded for the rows that aren’t indexed correctly by a full-text index in SQL Server 2012

FIX: Rebuilding a nonclustered index to add new columns by using CREATE INDEX together with the DROP_EXISTING=ON and ONLINE=ON clauses causes blocking

FIX: Error 3456 “Could not redo log record” occurs, causing replicas to be suspended or repeated behavior in SQL Server

 

SQL Server 2012 SP3 Cumulative Update 7 (Build 11.0.6579), 11 total public hot fixes

FIX: An Always On secondary replica goes into a disconnecting state

FIX: The Target Recovery Time of a database set to a nonzero value causes an assertion and a lease timeout in SQL Server 2014

“A digitally signed driver is required” warning when you install SQL Server packages in Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10

FIX: On failover, the new secondary replica stops accepting transaction log records until the instance is restarted in SQL Server

FIX: Assert memory dump on a mirror server in SQL Server 2012

FIX: Changing the data type and then updating the table with more than 4,000 records causes database corruption

 

SQL Server 2012 SP3 Cumulative Update 8 (Build 11.0.6594), 17 total public hot fixes

FIX: DMV sys.dm_hadr_availability_group_states displays “NOT_HEALTHY” in synchronization_health_desc column on secondary replicas in SQL Server 2012

FIX: Failed assertion and many access violation dump files after the sp_replcmds stored procedure is canceled in SQL Server 2012

FIX: Bad query plan created on secondary replicas after statistics updated via FULLSCAN option on primary replica in SQL Server 2012

FIX: A memory leak in SQLWEP causes the host process Wmiprvse.exe to crash in SQL Server 2012

Update improves handling of documents too large for Full-Text Search indexing in SQL Server

Update reduces the execution frequency of the sp_MSsubscription_cleanup stored procedure in SQL Server 2012

FIX: Error 5262 when you execute DBCC CHECKDB on the primary replica in SQL Server 2012, 2014 or 2016

 

SQL Server 2012 SP3 Cumulative Update 9 (Build 11.0.6598), 10 total public hot fixes

FIX: “The custom resolver for this article requires OLEAUT32.DLL with a minimum version of 2.40.4276” error with merge publication in SQL Server

FIX: Can’t grant permissions to another user to log in to an availability group after the owner is removed in SQL Server 2012 or 2014

FIX: Access violation when a stored procedure is dropped before you execute END TRY section in SQL Server 2012 or 2016

FIX: A REDO thread is not available in the secondary replica after an availability database is dropped in SQL Server 2012

FIX: A stored procedure may fail after an automatic failover occurs on a mirrored database in SQL Server 2012

 

SQL Server 2012 SP3 Cumulative Update 10 (Build 11.0.6607), 5 total public hot fixes

FIX: Access violation occurs when you update compressed data in SQL Server 2012 or 2014

FIX: Timeout when you back up a large database to URL in SQL Server 2014

Update adds the “CLR strict security” feature to SQL Server 2016

FIX: Change Data Capture stops working after a recent cumulative update for SQL Server is installed

 

Once again, the idea here is to give you a lot of concrete reasons to want to stay current with the latest SQL Server 2012 SP and CU, by pointing out some of the more valuable fixes in each CU in the Service Pack 3 branch.  If my opinion does not sway everyone, this relatively new Microsoft KB article might be more convincing:

Announcing updates to the SQL Server Incremental Servicing Model (ISM)

Another very useful resource is this Microsoft KB article:

Recommended updates and configuration options for SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2014 used with high-performance workloads

Happily, Microsoft has been updating this KB article with new information, so you might want to read it again, if you have not done so already.